Study reports a two-fold increase in anal cancer deaths in the past 15 years

According to the latest study, it has been noted that the rate of Americans beings diagnosed and dying from anal cancer had doubled up in 2016 as opposed to the numbers reported in 2001. Anal cancer accounts for a mere 1 to 2 percent of all the cancer instances diagnosed every year making it a rare variant. Not just that, its rarity also makes it the least popular choice when it comes to being talked or discussed.

Almost every case of this variant of cancer is caused due to the presence of the HPV or Human Papillomavirus. However, only two of the HPV strains are known to cause anal cancer, given the fact that it comes with more than 100 variants. This virus strain affects around 80% of sexually active individuals. In this research, the scientists discovered that people in the 50s & 60s age group showcased the highest cases of anal cancer. The research was carried out at the Houston based University of Texas. The study also points out the critical importance of getting vaccinated against HPV to ensure the prevention of this infection in most cases.

Given the existing perception that this disease is rare, the scientific research associated with the same is more than often neglected, mentioned Dr. Ashish Deshmukh, lead author of the study & assistant professor working with the UTHealth School of Public Health. The findings of the study state that there has been a dramatic increase in the occurrence of anal cancer among the black millennial generation as well as white women. The increasing rate of last-stage cancer & mortality from the disease is very alarming.

In the year 2006, FDA (Food and Drug Administration approved Gardasil, which was the very first vaccine designed to protect patients against 4 different variants of HPV, which include 6, 16, 11, as well as 18. The significant adoption of this drug was slow at the start. This was due to the fact that it was recommended and approved only for women at first between the age groups of 9 and 26. Later, it was prescribed to both genders between these age groups.

Today, both women and men aged 45 or below have been vaccinated against the disease. Now, close to 50 percent of teenagers have been reported to be updated with the HPV vaccinations. This was a significant 5 percent increase for the vaccination rates starting from 2017 going all the way to 2018.