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NPC with HPV positive?

Tuongvi's picture
Tuongvi
Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 2011

Anybody here know about the link between NPC and HPV. We went to the doctors today and was told that his tonsils are too large and they want to test to see if he is HPV possitive? And it he is positve for HPV, the doctor will remove his tonsils. He as diagnosted with NPC, but I did not know about the tonsils and HPV? Anybody know about this?
Thanks

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8069
Joined: Sep 2009

I'm not so familiar with the link between HPV and NPC. I do know that HPV is becoming (or has become) very active with Head & Neck Cancers. It's actually to the point of overtaking tobacco related H&N Cancers within the very near future.

Also, as far as I know there isn't really a test that can over all test you for HPV (that I'm aware of), it's more related to testing tissue of a suspect site or cells within that site.

When I was diagnosed for STG III SCC HPV+ Tonsil Cancer, I also had a tumor pop up on the same side in my neck (behind the right ear).

My ENT suspected SCC and was also suspect of it being HPV derived as I had never been a tobacco user. He did a quick biopsy of the tonsil tissue confirming it to be SCC when he took the tonsils out. He then sent the tissue off and several weeks later it was confirmed to be HPV+.

So basically, there is a very strong link between HPV and H&N Cancer in general. Usually there is a primary and secondary site. But some on here never know or are have located where their primary site is located.

I also wanted to welcome you the the forum, you'll find a lot of very knowledgeable and experienced survivors here, more than willing to share their stories and thoughts to you.

Best,
John

DrMary's picture
DrMary
Posts: 527
Joined: Nov 2010

Here's what we know from experience: HPV-caused cancer is "better-behaved" than other cancers. They tend to melt away better after treatment with radiation and chemotherapy. Your husband could have "caught" the HPV 30 years ago or more. HPV seems to be showing up quite a bit in men's tonsils lately.

What does this mean? They will likely do the same treatment. They will add the information about your husband (and mine) to a database that might, someday in the future, make this kind of cancer more treatable.

If the tumor is HPV-positive, you should go see your OB/GYN and tell her/him. You will probably need to get tested for cervical cancer more often, as HPV is also a cause of that. However, the virus can stay around for many decades (like, 30 years) without causing cancer, so you might be OK.

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1746
Joined: Nov 2009

Do not know about the HPV connection. I, too, am NPC, but was a smoker, and the Drs. never said anything about HPV. I gather that the Drs. are still waiting, so the treatment details are still on hold?

kcass

Kimba1505's picture
Kimba1505
Posts: 557
Joined: Apr 2010

So sorry you had to find this board, it means you "googled" head and neck cancer, or cancer in some way. It is probably how we all found our way here. I am the caretaker/partner of Mark, diagnosed: Squamous Cell Carcinoma, left tonsil, stage IV, HPV+, April 2010. We were so grateful when the test came in saying he was HPV+. As Dr. Mary said, it is a varient of cancer that responds very well to treatment.
Like Skiffin said, many head and neck cancers, historically, were the result of decades of smoking and drinking. But there is this newer wave of HPV derived Head and Neck cancers that are showing HPV 16 or 18.
Unfortunately, this has not been openly discussed in any common media form. What is most widely known and communicated is HPV and cervical cancer in women. It is the basis for the Gardasil vaccine promoted for girls. I recently had my two teen boys begin the vaccination process with Gardasil...now knowing that men (young men)are also getting HPV derived cancers.
This is a good place to come for information, support and the wisdom of those who have traveled this cancer path.
My Best to you and your husband,
Kim

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5734
Joined: Apr 2009

I do know of any link between NPC & HPV but like anything if you have one you could have the other. All it would take is for the one virus to get the other one started in a weak immune system. But as far as a direct link I have never heard of it.

Take care and keep strong
Hondo

Tuongvi's picture
Tuongvi
Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 2011

My husband doesn't smoke and not a drinker. He was testd for EBV and is negative. If he is HPV+, does that mean he has both Tonsil cancer and NPC? The Pet scan did not say anything about the tonsil so why now they suspect tonsil cancer. I thought PET scan will show all cancer cells in your whole body. Is it possible that PET scan can miss some canser cells?
I am confused and very frustrated. We have to wait another the week for the tonsil result.
Thank you for all of your replies. You all has been great here!!!!

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8069
Joined: Sep 2009

The PET can probably miss some cancer cells,but I'm sure that's rare. Uually it is pretty much the elite standard test to highlight high cell activity (such as cancer)...

I would probably suspect (if I were to presume) that they are actually testing his tonsil cells for HPV. At this point even if they do show HPV+, doesn't mean that it is at a stage yet to be cancerous.

I don't think (like mentioned above), there is a specific overall test for HPV. They mainly test the cells of a suspected area, like the tonsils for instance.

Best,
John

Tuongvi's picture
Tuongvi
Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 2011

My husband doesn't smoke and not a drinker. He was testd for EBV and is negative. If he is HPV+, does that mean he has both Tonsil cancer and NPC? The Pet scan did not say anything about the tonsil so why now they suspect tonsil cancer. I thought PET scan will show all cancer cells in your whole body. Is it possible that PET scan can miss some canser cells?
I am confused and very frustrated. We have to wait another the week for the tonsil result.
Thank you for all of your replies. You all has been great here!!!!

seenanN
Posts: 24
Joined: Oct 2009

Since agent orange was used in Vietnam you might want to take a look at Hawvet's post Nasopharyngeal Cancer and Agent Orange. Even the topic commented about the VET benefit but some survival members have NPC then Tonsil cancer or vice versa. There are still too few studies to confirm the general association between these two cancer and HPV.
Be Strong

ratface's picture
ratface
Posts: 1235
Joined: Aug 2009

One being size, below 9mm is difficult for it to distinguish tracer activity and it has a historical error rate of around 25%. That said it's one of many diagnostic tools with merit and a great place to start. There is nothing definite in cancer diagnosis and they may use a combination of tests including pet, ct, and MRI.

Rayarno
Posts: 12
Joined: Dec 2010

Where is your husband being treated? Have you thought about a second opinion?

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