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Tonsil Cancer Rates Increasing Throughout All Socioeconomic Levels

August 26, 2019

Miriam Lango, MD, FACS. The study suggests that prevention efforts for tonsil cancer are critical and should be focused on HPV-related prevention, including the HPV vaccine for all SES groups.Miriam Lango, MD, FACS. The study suggests that prevention efforts for tonsil cancer are critical and should be focused on HPV-related prevention, including the HPV vaccine for all SES groups.

PHILADELPHIA (August 26, 2019) - A recent study from a researcher at Fox Chase Cancer Center found that incidence rates of tonsil cancer in the United States are increasing in both high and low socioeconomic groups. Oropharynx carcinoma cases, which include cases of tonsil cancer, have been on the rise. This trend has been attributed to increasing chronic oral infections with the human papilloma virus (HPV).

Miriam Lango, MD, FACS, a professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology and director of the Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery Fellowship, and her colleague Jessica Tang, MD, a resident at Temple University, published the research earlier this year.

The study is one of the first to investigate the incidence trends of tonsil cancer in lower socioeconomic populations within the United States. Data from the paper was presented at the American Head and Neck Society Meeting held at National Harbor, Md., last April. 

A national database called SEER 18 that collects cancer incidence and survival data was used to conduct the investigation. The compiled data showed that the incidence rates of tonsil cancer have increased between the years 2010 and 2014 compared to larynx cancer rates, which did not change significantly during this same time period. This trend was not observed to be dependent on socioeconomic status (SES), as both high and low SES areas observed increases in tonsil cancer incidence rates. Compared with larynx cancer patients and across all SES geographies, tonsil cancer patients were likely to be younger and more likely to be white. These differences would be expected with tonsil cancer caused by HPV.

The study suggests that prevention efforts for tonsil cancer are critical and should be focused on HPV-related prevention, including the HPV vaccine for all SES groups.

The study, “Diverging Incidence Trends for Larynx and Tonsil Cancer in Low Socioeconomic Regions of the U.S.,” was published in Oral Oncology.

       

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