Apr 03 2013 Posted: 13:15 IST

Head and neck cancers related to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

According to the American Cancer Society, a new cancer epidemic is emerging in the US. Head and neck cancers related to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) are rising dramatically and are projected to surpass cervical cancer by 2020. Experts will gather at NUI Galway on 17 May for a symposium to discuss the challenges this brings in terms of clinical management and broader public health ramifications.

Jointly organised by NUI Galway’s Academic Department of Otorhinolaryngology and School of Economics, the event is funded by the Health Research Board (HRB) as part of its Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme (KEDS).

HPV are a family of more than 100 viruses. The HPV- subtypes, 16 and 18, that are synonymous with cervical cancer, are also causal subtypes in head and neck cancer.  The incidence of HPV-related head and neck cancer are three-times more likely to occur in men than women raising debate about vaccinating boys against this sexually-transmitted virus.

Symposium chair, Professor Ivan Keogh, Head of the Academic Department of Otorhinolaryngology at NUI Galway and Consultant Otolaryngologist at Galway University Hospitals, states: “There is a changing nature in the cause of tongue and tonsil cancers from traditional heavy smoking and drinking use to HPV. This symposium is a wonderful opportunity for all healthcare professionals involved in the provision of care to these patients to attend a free symposium with internationally-renowned keynote speakers from the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution.”

The symposium will bring together leading national and international epidemiologists, pathologists, head and neck cancer clinicians, health economists and public health experts to debate current and future best practice. The organisers are delighted that Dr Brenda Corcoran, HSE National Immunisation Office, will conclude the symposium.

The clinical keynote speakers are Dr Sara Pai and Dr William Westra, both from Johns Hopkins, who will discuss their latest research in diagnosing, treating and managing these cancers. The symposium will also feature presentations from Professor Terry Jones, University of Liverpool and Dr Mererid Evans, Velindre Cancer Centre Cardiff, who will give the UK perspective on these cancers.

Complimentary to the research angle, co-organiser, Mr Tony O’Connor, Consultant Otolaryngologist, Bon Secours Hospital, Galway makes the point that: “The symposium offers a unique opportunity for auxiliary healthcare professionals, dentists and GPs to engage in knowledge exchange on the detection and post-treatment management of these patients.” 

This CPD-accredited symposium is limited to 120 delegates and reservation is strongly recommended. The full programme can be viewed at http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=200


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