It’s a silent threat. One that can start with something as simple as discomfort in the back of your throat.
But throat cancer is a serious, life-threatening disease. And doctors are seeing it more and more in men who don't smoke.
The culprit is human papillomavirus, also know as HPV, which can cause cervical cancer in women. Men get the virus from oral sex, but that virus can lay dormant for years before causing cancer.
Every year, doctors diagnose 11,000 new cases of HPV, according to the American Cancer Society.
Gregor Miziumski got the diagnosis several years ago.
“Your blood runs cold. You get that chill. I had to sit down and steady myself,” Miziumski said.
He was lucky. His surgeries were successful and he's doing well. But now he’s spreading the word, trying to help the next generation avoid the disease that threatened his life.
Miziumski is a big proponent of the HPV vaccine, and so is his doctor at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center.
“I can’t imagine why anyone would withhold this vaccination from their children,” Dr. Eric Dierks said.
Some parents are uncomfortable with it because it deals with sex, and needs to be given at such a young age.
According to Dr. Dierks, general recommendations are for girls to get vaccinated between ages 9 and 26, and boys between ages 9 and 21.