NEW HAVEN — While it’s become widely known that the human papilloma virus causes cervical cancer, doctors have more recently discovered HPV is associated with another form of cancer.
While cancer of the throat, back of the tongue, tonsils and soft palate (the location of the uvula), known as oropharyngeal cancer, can be caused by smoking or heavy drinking, HPV also has been linked to it, according to Dr. Saral Mehra, section chief for head and neck and otolaryngology surgery at the Yale School of Medicine.
“This didn’t exist as far as we knew 20 or 30 years ago,” Mehra said, but it became clear that younger people who didn’t smoke or drink could get this type of cancer.
That is why, Mehra said, it is important for all young people to receive the HPV vaccination. “If there’s one message I think we need to get out is we need to vaccinate all of our boys and girls,” he said.