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The latest roundup of news from the world of HPV.

Cancer Rates Falling in US

A new report from The National Institutes of Health says that overall cancer rates in America have been falling in the last two decades, especially in young people. Cancer rates have been falling for men, women and children. One of the biggest changes were the cancer incidence rates in relation to gender. Cancer incidences were 1.2 times more likely to occur in men than women between 2011 and 2015, and from 2012 to 2016, men were 1.4 times more likely to die. The HPV vaccine prevents cancer, but the general public largely ignore it - education is important to understanding the good the vaccine can do. Cancers related to tobacco use have decreased, but oral cancers in men have increased, indicating other causes of that cancer. While this new research is overall good news, the report also emphasises the need for continued research and cancer prevention efforts in order to reduce cancer rates further.

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Research to Catch Throat Cancer Early

HPV could spend decades in your throat before it develops into life threatening oral cancer, but despite this, this type of cancer is rarely caught before it becomes dangerous. While there are tests that can screen for other types of HPV-related cancers, such as smear tests and anal pap screening, there is no such test for throat cancer. However, there is a new study that tests for certain antibodies, which may be able to solve this problem. Specifically, researchers for a study published in Annals of Oncology have been investigating the search for antibodies to HPV type 16, which causes throat cancer. However, while this test may be able to find many possible cases of throat cancer, researchers claim to still be missing the important next steps in the screening process. Additionally, it could yield many false-positive results. Future studies will focus on the best ways to follow-up on people who test positive for these antibodies, and how to make these tests more precise.

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Investigating Viral Loads and HPV

A new study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases shows that persistent HPV infections may only have few changes in viral load. Additionally, the viral loads between heterosexual partners may be correlated. A viral load is the productivity of DNA replication, and it is thought that it has a major role in HPV infectivity. The researchers concluded that further studies were needed to identify the determinants for high HPV viral loads, and to see whether viral loads can be used to predict future clinical disease. This information can then be used to push knowledge on the natural history of HPV infections, and provide insights on preventative strategies.

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Importance of the HPV Vaccine for Boys Evaluated

While everyone knows that the HPV vaccine can reduce cervical cancer rates, thanks to great drops in cases of the disease since the vaccine has been introduced, research into the effects of the vaccine on boys has only just begun, but results are looking good. A recent 2 year long study of over 200 Scottish patients with head and neck cancer showed that HPV was present in 60% of cases. It is thought by the conductors of the research that the HPV vaccine could prevent these diseases from ever developing, drastically reducing the number of head and neck cancers in the UK.

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Using Cervical HPV Tests to Predict Anal Cancer

A new report has been published in Lancet Infection on the possibility of using cervical cancer screening results to predict type HPV16 in the anus, which can cause anal cancer. The reporters gathered information from over 13,000 tests, comparing cervical and anal samples to look for similarities. The results have been very important, as they found that cervical and anal HPV infections were highly correlated. This shows how helpful cervical screening programmes could be to predicting anal cancer risk. It also makes cervical screening all the more important, especially to older generations who were never offered the HPV vaccine in the first place.

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