I came across, today, an interesting article by Lawrence D Mass. M.D.
He revisits the New York Times 2003 story about gay men and the threat of anal cancer.
Since that time, the cases have only increased and I want to shed some light on Dr. Mass's findings.
Anal cancer is being diagnosed among those who are not HIV infected and is being found more commonly among those who are HIV-positive with a frequency that deserves our attention.
The incidence in gay men is 35 per 100,000 compared to 1 per 100,000 in the general population. HIV-positive men are atwice as likely to get get anal cancer as those who are not HIV-positive.
Th evillian is the Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) which is of the same family of viruses highly associated with cervix cancer in women.
So the only way to detect the cancer is with a pap smear. And getting one if you are a bottom and sexually active is a must. If you are negative and sexually active as a bottom, there is treatment. A new , highly effective preventive vaccine for HPV will be widely available sometime in 2006. It should be highly effective in treating anal warts and anal cancer. Dr. Mass advises that everyone keep current with new medical breakthroughs and see a doctor who is versed in gay male medicine for treatment. Currently the vaccine is in trial and so far, has shown 100 percent efficacy in preventing the viruses that cause anal cancers.
Another doctor quoted in the article, Dr Goldstone, recommends that gay men who have had receptive anal sex receive rectal examinations within a year of their first experience. For many bottoms, that is too little advice too late. I urge all bottoms to get this examination. It would be comforting to know that you are healthy and can then most benefit from the vaccine.
These pre cancerous lesions can take years to progress to cancer and can often be treated successfully. Anal warts have been shown to be a marker for anal cancer, with 60 percent including some area that is either cancerous or precancerous in a study with which Dr. Goldstone was involved.
The clear message here for sexually active gay men who regularly have receptive anal sex is prvention, regular screening, early detection, and treatment as early as possible are the key steps for minimizing the anal cancer risk. Top men, particularly, should gently urge your partners to undergo screening. If you love him for more than a good fuck, I urge you to speak to your partner and allow him to know that you care upmost about his health. That's what we are brought together to do, sexually and as gay men, to take very good care of each other's health needs. For good sex now and in the future, it's all of our responsibility.