The Doctors: Human Papillomavirus
Dr. Travis Stork explained that they’ve been discussing the Ebola virus and want to keep viewers up to date on it, but The Doctors don’t want people to freak out about it. That being said, there are some disease that people should be a bit more concerned about if they’re living in the United States, particular one The Doctors wanted to discuss.
It’s responsible for 90% of cervical cancers, 90% of anal cancers, and roughly 70% of throat cancers. About 20 million Americans between 15 and 50 have it, and it can spread even before an infected person shows signs or symptoms. So are you at risk?
The Doctors explained that they’ve learned a lot more about this virus over the years, and learned that it doesn’t just cause warts. It can, in some cases, lead to cancer, and most people don’t think much about it. What’s also scary is that you can be exposed to this virus without actual intercourse.
So what is this scary virus? It’s HPV or human papillomavirus and it can be passed from skin-to-skin contact or during oral intimacy. By the age of 50, 80% of women have been exposed to it. Dr. Jennifer Ashton explained that she doesn’t want people to panic about it, but it needs to be “on the front our radar.”
The Drs TV: Why Get The HPV Vaccine?
Dr. Stork explained that HPV is a family virus and there are some HPV viruses that cause warts and things of that nature, but the ones that their particular worried about are the ones that can lead to cancer. Dr. Ordon explained that HPV 16 is one in particular that they’re seeing in younger kids because of oral activities and the fact that they’re particularly variable forms of head and neck cancers.
Dr. Ashton said that what concerns her is that you can’t screen for oral cancer like you can screen for cervical cancer. So typically, those cancers are detected at a relatively late stage. The good news is that some of those HPV oral cancers tend to be the most responsive to treatment. She said people need to understand that it’s out there and it’s like catching a cold.
Dr. Jim Sears said another good thing is that it’s preventable, with the use of the vaccine. Dr. Ashton said she realizes that HPV is difficult to prevent because “you would have to be living in a plastic bubble.” But you can absolutely take steps to avoid it.
The Doctors: Who Should Get The HPV Vaccine?
Dr. Sears explained that a lot of parents are resisting giving their younger kids, like 11-year-olds, the vaccine, because they’re relating it to sex. Dr. Sears said it’s important to give the vaccine to your kids before they become sexually active.
Dr. Ashton said the vaccine is now approved and recommended by the CDC for boys as well. Dr. Stork reiterated that the virus isn’t only spread through intercourse, so you should take necessary precautions.
The Drs TV: The Flu Virus
He also said there is another disease that you should be aware of. It sends 200,000 Americans to the hospital each year, and 20% of the population will contract it. It even kills around 49,000 people every year. If you think you’re immune, you should think again.
Dr. Stork said one of his pet peeves is when people talk about cold and flu season. He said the deal is, the cold is a nuisance and the flu can be deadly in certain situations.
Dr. Ashton said “it’s not just a bad cold.” She said she’s had culture tested and proven influenza twice as a doctor. Both times, she thought she was going to die. She said she even had H1N1 and thought she was going to need to be put on a ventilator.
The Doctors: Why You Should Be Concerned About The Flu
Dr. Stork referred to the H1N1 virus and said that 90% of the deaths from the swine flu were under the age of 65. He said it was killing otherwise healthy people. He said the typical flu virus will harm the young or the elderly, the people that are compromised. He said the flu is a dynamic virus and he thinks we should be much more worried about it than we are.
Dr. Ashton said people need to understand that the flu vaccine is not 100% effective. It has about a 60-66% efficacy, however, if you are exposed to the virus, it tends to cut the severity and the duration. She said she actually had a pregnant patient die of the flu under her care, which was horrendous.
The Drs TV: Who Should Get The Flu Vaccine?
Dr. Sears pointed out that often times you’re spreading the flu around before you even know you have it.
The recommendation now is if you’re over 6 months of age, get a flu shot or use the nasal spray every year to protect yourself. Dr. Ashton also encouraged people to talk to your health care adviser about any health concerns.