PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Doctors are seeing an alarming trend: an increase in throat cancer in patients normally not at risk.

Traditionally, smoking and drinking have been the main causes of head and neck cancers according to Dr. David Cognetti co-director of head and neck surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. But he’s now seeing younger patients who neither smoke nor drink diagnosed with throat cancer caused by the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, which also causes cervical cancer.

He explains the symptoms, “Sore throat or difficulty swallowing, ear pain, certainly if any of those symptoms persist that would be a reason to be evaluated. If you have a lump in your neck that could be a sign that the cancer has spread to the lymph node.”

He says the reason for the surge could be an increase in the spread of the virus and a change in sexual practices.

Reported by Lynne Adkins KYW Newsradio 1060

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