As in the rest of the Western world, the incidence of oropharyngeal carcinoma is increasing in Belgium. This increase is attributed to infections with the sexually transmittable human papilloma virus (HPV). In total, 80 to 90% of sexually active adolescents get infected with this virus during life. Later in life, this viral infection can lead to the development of different types of cancer, amongst which oropharyngeal carcinoma. Vaccination offers protection against infections with many subtypes of HPV and thus prevention of cancer. Vaccines are nowadays reimbursed for both girls and boys, so let’s advocate maximal vaccination to prevent cancer.
(BELG J MED ONCOL 2020;14(2):71–3)