While any cancer diagnosis can be devastating, for some women who lead healthy lifestyles that don't include excessive drinking, smoking or other unhealthy habits, a diagnosis of throat cancer can blindside them. Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV, is known to cause cervical cancer in women, but it can also lay dormant for years and show up later in throat cancer. That's what happened to one Boston area woman who simply thought she had a stubborn sore throat. It was actually throat cancer, likely caused by the HPV virus. Experts at the CDC warn that most sexually active men and women will come up against an HPV infection at some point in their lives. Rates of head and neck cancers are on the rise and many doctors are looking at ways to detect them earlier and identify HPV infections that could be problematic later on in life.
Treatment for throat cancer is intense, with multiple sessions of chemotherapy and radiation. In this video, the patient underwent grueling therapy and is now in remission, but with throat cancer, patients very often have trouble eating and swallowing, a problem that can cause a host of other issues and seriously impair recovery. With the numbers of patients affected by HPV induced cancers, research into better treatments and earlier detection is crucial.