- San Antonio-based Larry Schlesinger is a highly accomplished physician-scientist who never expected to be on the other side of disease when he was diagnosed with oral cancer.
- Schlesinger says that a biopsy confirmed he had a viral-induced oral cancer, which points to the highly common, sexually-transmitted human papillomavirus virus (HPV) as the likely cause.
- When people talk about HPV and cancer risk, they tend to be talking about cervical cancer. And while this discussion is incredibly important (nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV), people should be aware that HPV puts them at risk of developing several other cancers as well.
“I live in an intellectual realm as a doctor when I hear people have cancer. … But when you’re told it’s you, it’s different. It’s very personal. … I had no defenses,” the infectious disease expert admitted to San Antonio Report.Read More
“Every day Judy and I walked to the dungeon, the MD Anderson basement, for my treatment,” Schlesinger said, referring to his supportive wife. Thankfully, he is back at work and feeling healthier than expected.
“From January 25 through March 5 I can’t describe what I went through,” Schlesinger said. “They pretty much tell you you are going to go through hell … but that I would eventually turn the corner. Having someone close to you that you love, nothing is more important.”
Thankfully, Schlesinger’s latest scans show that he is disease-free, and he will be screened again in five years.
The research leader is working on “plans to expand Texas Biomed’s campus, staff and its nationally recognized research work,” surely using a heightened perspective from his eye-opening health experience.
HPV and Cancer
When people talk about HPV and cancer risk, they tend to be talking about cervical cancer. And while this discussion is incredibly important (nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV), people should be aware that HPV puts them at risk of developing several other cancers as well. And yes, as mentioned above, HPV can cause cancer in men. Cancers of the vagina, penis, anus and throat have all been linked to HPV.
“The strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer are the same strains of HPV that cause throat cancer,” says Dr. Jessica Geiger, a medical oncologist at Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center, to SurvivorNet. “There average patient with HPV-related throat cancer tends to be males in their 40s or 50s, who were never a smoker or just a very light tobacco user.”
According to a newer research study, 70 percent of adults of any age do not know that the human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause oral, anal, and penile cancers.
This knowledge gap comes even as famous actors such as Michael Douglas and Marcia Cross have opened up to the public about surviving these cancers themselves — and have confirmed that their cancers were HPV-related.
The numbers are especially troubling given that HPV is responsible for 34,800 cases of cancer in the U.S. each year—90 percent of which could be prevented with the HPV vaccine. People are at-risk for avoidable cancers simply because they don’t know that risk exists.
The findings, out of the UTHealth School of Public Health, are based on a national survey of 2,564 men and 3,697 women. The survey also revealed that only 19 percent of men and 31.5 percent of women eligible for vaccination received HPV vaccine recommendations from their doctors.
“HPV vaccination campaigns have focused heavily on cervical cancer prevention in women,” Dr. Ashish Deshmukh of UTHealth School of Public Health, who led the study, said. “Our findings demonstrate a need to educate both sexes regarding HPV and HPV vaccination.”