Hepatitis C increases risk of developing head and neck cancers

Updated: Apr 16, 2016, 14:15 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

People infected with Hepatitis C virus are at a greater risk of developing certain head and neck cancers, according to a study.

The new study demonstrates that hepatitis C patients are two to five times more prone to such cancers in comparison to normal persons.

The study done at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center revealed that the association of and oropharyngeal and nonoropharyngeal cancers is as high as its link to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The findings showed that the risk of risk increased 2.4 times for oral cavity cancers, 2.04 times for oropharynx cancers, and 4.96 times for larynx cancers.

The study published in National Cancer Institute identified 34,545 MD Anderson patients who were tested for HCV between 2004 and 2014.

At the time of time all patients were tested for HCV antibodies and viral RNA tests were used to confirm chronic infection.

Out of these patients 409 were diagnosed with head and neck cancers, of whom 164 had oropharyngeal cancers and 245 had non-oropharyngeal cancers.

Ororpharyngeal or throat cancer starts from starts from the middle section of throat including the back one third of the tongue, soft palate, the side and back walls of the throat and the tonsils.

Non-oropharyngeal cancer begins in the mouth including two-thirds of tongues, roof and floor of the mouth, the gums and the lips.

The study showed that 20 % of non-oropharyngeal cancer patients and 14 % of oropharyngeal cancer patients are tested positive for HCV antibodies.

The researchers claims that this study is vital for both the screening of those with the virus and the treatment of those with head and neck cancers