This post isn’t about politics. It’s about HPV–Human Papillomavirus.
HPV has been in the news lately after Michele Bachmann went after Rick Perry for trying to force all girls in Texas to get vaccinated. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. Whatever.
You probably know that women get HPV, and that it can cause cervical cancer. Where do women get the dangerous strains of HPV from? Mostly from having sex with men.
So yes, that means men get HPV as well. Specifically, men and women can carry a variant of HPV known as P16. And it’s worth knowing that HPV-P16 causes cancer of the tonsil and in the base of the tongue. Especially in men in their 40s and 50s.
Just Google “hpv cancer tonsil tongue.” Or here’s a CBS news story.
How do I know? You guessed it. I’m in the middle of fighting HPV-P16+ tonsil cancer right now.
I’m a fairly run of the mill New Yorker. 40-five. Married with kids, living in Brooklyn.And, yes, I was young once and have had sex with more than one partner (never at the same time, though).
In late May of this year, I noticed a swollen lymph node in my neck. My wife made me promise to go to my physician after two weeks if it was still there. So about three weeks later, in I went. Anti-biotics didn’t help. At an ultrasound in early July the technician said, “that’s unusual.”
Since then I’ve been climbing the diagnostic ladder. A tonsillectomy in August confirmed a tumour in my left tonsil. The swollen lymph node was removed on August 23rd. I’ll probably start radiation treatment in early October. That will kind of suck, but my long-term prognosis is excellent so don’t worry about me
What does this have to do with Michele Bachmann? I hope not a whole lot. I’m hoping she just gets out of the way and lets the public health experts promote vaccination against HPV for girls.
And here’s a prediction. Pretty soon it will be covered for boys as well. And I really hope that when that happens, there aren’t any scare-mongering politicians shouting about the government trying to inflict “mental retardation” on boys too. But I’m not real confident about that.
And maybe Rick Perry will stand up in support of this sensible step. If he does, I still won’t vote for him. But I will be impressed.
George Glass is a pseudonym.
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