How Tobacco Use Impacts Prognosis in HPV-Associated Oropharyngeal Cancer Patients


Each year, approximately 600,000 people are diagnosed with head and neck cancers worldwide. A little less than 50% of those patients survive the cancer. Patients older than 60 years of age have a likelier chance to already have a heavy reliance on alcohol and/or tobacco. In the US the number of head and neck cancers caused by alcohol and tobacco are dwindling but there are an increased number of cases caused by HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer in patients younger than 60 years.

With two main risk factors involved, Mount Sinai’s data reported that HPV-associated cancer patient had a higher progression-free survival rate and locoregional control rate than patients that were HPV-negative. HPV-positive patients who were also smoker had slightly lower ratings than non-smokers that were HPV-positive but still significantly higher rating than HPV-negative nonsmokers and smokers.

The data is based on the TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS) that is used to perform non-invasive surgery on patients with oral, head and neck cancers. The advanced surgical equipment is proven to successfully improve the management of HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer regardless of tobacco usage.

​The team in Mount Sinai have created a series of clinical trials to combat against the rapid increase of oropharyngeal cancer and thyroid cancer patient cases. They have highlighted a few of clinical trials and can be read in one of their latest edition of ResearchFocus.

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I believe that my success as a cancer patient is first due to the process of recognition on a basic level, that something in my body was not the same as it was and I was worse off.Jessica Tar
National Spokesperson for HNCA & squamous cell carcinoma survivor

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