UA-118272889-1 1739406299646766 HPV In Men: Breaking The Stigma And Bringing Awareness, With Jason Mendelsohn - WE Have Cancer

Episode 167

Published on:

29th Dec 2020

HPV In Men: Breaking The Stigma And Bringing Awareness, With Jason Mendelsohn

On this week’s episode of WE Have Cancer, Lee sits down with Jason Mendelsohn, a Stage-4 tonsil cancer survivor and HPV advocate. Jason shares his story about being diagnosed with HPV-related cancer and his journey to becoming a well-known advocate for the HPV vaccine and awareness of HPV in men. 

The pair talk about the stigma surrounding the disease and how Jason has coped in the aftermath. Jason also discusses his motivation for being such an advocate and what he’s looking to do next.

Guest biography:

Jason Mendelsohn was diagnosed with Stage 4 tonsil cancer at 44-years-old. Now recovered, he’s on a mission to bring awareness of HPV cancer, the HPV vaccine to the world while especially trying to break the stigma of HPV in men.

Table of contents:

  • Introduction
  • Superheroes

Those that are currently or have gone through cancer and treatment are often called heroes. With a brand revolving around Superman, Lee asks Jason what he thinks about the term hero.

  • Discomfort in talking about HPV in men

With people often asking why he has no discomfort or embarrassment talking about HPV in men, Jason takes a minute to share some of the real numbers behind the disease.

  • How do you get HPV?

HPV is most often contracted by sexual transmission. As Jason notes, most men won’t ever know they had it while some men end up getting cancer decades later from it.

  • Jason’s HPV diagnosis

After finding a small lump on his neck, Jason went to the doctor thinking it was nothing serious. But a few days later, Jason was diagnosed with Stage 4 tonsil cancer.

  • HPV awareness

Jason believes he’s had a small part in raising the general consciousness about the disease through sharing his story in interviews. He believes that he’s simply doing his part to help others that might not know about it and could be saved by the vaccine.

  • Breaking the stigma

Cancer often comes with a stigma and a sense of embarrassment, especially something like HPV-related cancer due to the sexual aspect of the disease. Jason shares a story and talks about how his story helps people realize how common it is and that there’s nothing to be embarrassed by.

  • Emotions after his HPV diagnosis

While he was already a fairly emotional person with a big heart, his journey has helped Jason appreciate the little things more. He also tells a story of recording messages for his children after being diagnosed and wanting to create more memories for them.

  • Using music to cope

Jason and Lee talk about how music can be like meditation.

  • What’s next?

Jason is already spending his time lobbying on Capitol Hill and putting his energy and resources into the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance. He’d also like to do a TED Talk to help eliminate the stigma surrounding HPV in men.

Links mentioned in the show:

Jason Mendelsohn (Superman HPV) - Website

Follow Jason on Instagram -

Follow Jason on Twitter -

Head and Neck Cancer Alliance - Website

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About the Podcast

WE Have Cancer
Providing information, inspiration and hope to those touched by cancer.
Each year more than 12 million people will hear the devastating words "you have cancer."

In each episode of WE Have Cancer we share the stories of patients, survivors, caregivers and medical professionals as a way to provide information, inspiration and hope to those touched by cancer.

The host, Lee Silverstein, is a survivor of a rare form of pediatric kidney cancer and has been battling stage 4 colon cancer since 2011.

About your host

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Lee & Linda Silverstein

In 2011, just four months after they began dating, Lee was diagnosed with Stage 2 colon cancer. A year and a half later, 17 days after their honeymoon, they learned that Lee’s cancer had spread to his liver; he was now Stage 4. Through numerous surgeries, chemotherapy infusions and assorted other treatments, Linda has been by his side. Despite cancer, Lee and Linda say unequivocally these have been the best years of their lives.

In 2015 Lee launched this podcast as a way to provide information, inspiration and hope to those affected by cancer.

Lee and Linda live in Florida with their Westie Terrier, Fergie.

The WE Have Cancer podcast is supported by The Colon Cancer Coalition -