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THE VIRUS: A Topic Many Will Find Interesting (and Concerning)  

ChiTownRocker2 62M
0 posts
8/15/2021 11:07 pm
THE VIRUS: A Topic Many Will Find Interesting (and Concerning)

Howdy Folks!

The topic du jour these days seems to be viruses, and I wanted to share my personal experiences in an effort to illuminate as many people as I can. CAVEAT: This blog will come across as a scare tactic, but being an intelligent human being, I feel facts and research are akin to being forewarned is being forearmed. If you read this blog in the spirit of this context, I'm sure you'll agree.

First, a little about me. I'm 61 years old, and I lost my virginity when I was 18. In the decades in between, I was always a one woman man. I dated many women, and even married (and divorced) during that time. When I was 50 y.o., I developed a mild sore throat, no worse than any I had since being a . However, it was chronic, and would wax and wane over time. This seemed odd to me, so I brought it up with the doc, who then suggested I consult an Ears/Nose/Throat specialist. Long story short, over the next three years, I had laryngoscopies, CT scans, MRIs, PET scans and biopses, all negative. The ENT told me to watch for an event that was WAY out of the ordinary, which eventually happened.

It was at that point I was diagnosed with a squamus cell carcinoma. I had a one centimeter tumor on my tongue. This, in turn, led to the establishment of the fact that I had a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Funny thing is, I NEVER had any symptoms before this. I then proceeded to have surgery, chemo and radiation, and at eight years out, I'm still cancer free.

Naturally, when one goes through a catastrophic event like this, one tends to do a lot of research, or rely on a plethora of information from the medical establishment, or both. This is what I did.

So here's the facts on HPV. Like COVID-19, it has many types, or variants, if you will. There are roundabout 100 different types (not all cause cancers). My doctors were telling me back in 2013 that there';s no outright tests to determine if someone has HPV, to which I asked, Then how do you know I have it?!?! Answer: Medical science has genetically traced HPV Type 16 as being the specific variant that causes oral cancers in men (I believe through DNA sequencing?) There is also a specific type that causes cervical cancer in women (the reason woman should get Pap smears every year - HPV is the sole cause of cervical cancer). HPV is not always harmful, and is not always sympomatic. This means you could have it and not know it. The human immune system deals with it fairly well.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that "HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States". (What bugged me back then and still does now is how LITTLE media attention it gets). According to the CDC, there were 43 million infections in 2018, and it estimates that there are currently as many as 80 million people infected in the United States. The CDC goes on to state that "HPV is so common that almost every person who is sexually-active will get HPV at some time in their life if they don’t get the HPV vaccine". Unfortunately, the Gardasil vaccine is only effective for those 26 and younger, but is most effective for teens/pre-teens.

HPV and subsequent cancers (if any) may not present themselves for a very long time, sometimes decades. Thats why you can't point the finger at someone specific. In my case, any woman I slept with from when I was 18 to when I was 50 could've given it to me. That's why it's senseless to play the blame game. Usually, these things present themselves as our immune systems become weaker with age. For some reason medical science can't explain, womens' immune systems are much more adept at fighting off the virus. Also, in talking to my various healthcare providers (ENT specialist, oncologists, surgical oncologist, radiation docs, etc.) I discovered that the incidences of oral cancers in men has absolutely EXPLODED in the last 10 years or so. Many of them attributed it to relaxed societal standards of the 60s and 70s, when many more people started having multiple partners throughout their lives.

I'm loathe to give advice, but I urge people to seek the consult of their doctor if something - anything! - seems out of the ordinary. Oral cancers in men are up to 95% treatable IF CAUGHT EARLY.

Anyway, I hope I shed some light on what can be a sensitive topic. Good luck to all.

13129 posts
8/16/2021 3:37 am

glad to hear that you are well and thanks for the info

author51 59F  
130010 posts
8/16/2021 5:10 am

Thanks for this informative post and hope others take the time to read it. Happy to hear you are cancer free. It is imperative for us women also to get a yearly Pap due to HPV and I go religiously and have for decades as my Grandma died from cervical cancer.. Stay healthy, stay safe..

ChiTownRocker2 replies on 8/16/2021 9:57 am:
Thank you for reading, A51. There's still a HUGE stigma around STDs, especially Herpes and HPV. I'm also on an adult STDs Only dating site and, believe me, even then it's incredibly challenging to find a match. But what bothers me - really, really bothers me! - is that, given the numbers that the CDC references, there's a helluva lot of people that have an STD and don't know it, or worse, know it and are not revealing.

THAT'S the scary part!

windsjohn 71M  
798 posts
8/16/2021 9:45 am

Well done!!. I HAVE wondered if I could get the HPV vax at my age.. you answered that question.. Much to my chagrin

ChiTownRocker2 replies on 8/16/2021 4:06 pm:
Thank you, WJ. One of the other things I've discovered is medical science is advancing by leaps and bounds in dealing with cancer. My surgery was performed using the Da Vinci laser system (robotics). Surgeon didn't even have to touch a scalpel. I would not be surprised to see a vaccine developed sooner rather than later, given the numbers the CDC brings up. The drug companies have to be seeing the $$$$ potential!!!

ChiTownRocker2 62M
4 posts
10/3/2021 9:19 am

Sage advice, G.!

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