Wednesday, August 5, 2009

They Laugh About Cancer from Oral Sex on the Sport Channel

When I walked into my chiropractor's office, his dander was up. He was hanging up the phone. My chiropractor is recovering from extensive surgery to remove cancer from his mouth and throat. His cancer was caused by HPV (Human Papilloma Virus), the same virus that causes cervical cancer. The same virus for which young girls (but not boys) are being vaccinated. The most common way for men to get oral and throat cancer from HPV is oral sex. The men on the sports radio show laughed.

My chiropractor went for a regular checkup. He had one hugely inflamed lymph node. His doctor didn't think it was important, but he mentioned it. My chiropractor is a health professional, too. He went for a second opinion. His second doctor sent him for x-rays immediately. Within a week, he was in the hospital for surgery and then recuperation with a feeding tube up his nose. He lost all sense of taste. Then when they started him on chemo, all he could taste was metal. Now his sense of taste is back, but he has trouble swallowing. He's in rehab to regain strength and range of motion in his arm on the side where the surgeon had to slice his neck to remove the tumor. His voice sounds different. And there is no test to tell him if he's free of HPV, so he can kiss someone.

The men on the radio show laughed. My chiropractor called them to tell them this is a serious disease. He could have died. His doctor told him that the best advice for men is to wait until they are in a steady relationship with a woman. Then ask her to get an HPV test. 80% ofwomen test positive. Only if she tests negative, should he consider oral sex. But there is no HPV test for men. So, women might not want it anyway.

My chiropractor is a health professional. He's trying to help people stay healthy. Humor can be a teaching tool. I hope it was in this case.

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