Human Papilloma (HPV) Virus Linked to Oral Cancer

Human Papilloma (HPV) Virus Linked to Oral Cancer

Posted by Dr. Alicia Abeyta DDS FAGD on Dec 12 2008, 02:28 AM

Risk factors for oral cancer are changing.  Classic risk factors of smoking and alcohol still point to increased incidence, but now human papillomavirus is rising to prominence as cause of oral cancer.  We have known for quite some time that 98% of cervical cancers were caused by HPV.  The same behaviors that spread HPV can also infect the mouth.

The cancer can be found in the throat as well causing difficulty swallowing, sore throat, ear pain and swellings in the neck. Dr. Brian Nussbaum, an ENT at Washington University, estimates that 70% of his throat cancer patients have tumors caused by HPV. The first connection between HPV and cervical cancer was reported in the 1970’s, but it wasn’t until 2000 that the link between HPV and oral cancer was described.

Few dentists and even fewer medical doctors are equipped with the Vizialite system of early oral cancer screening.  The system will detect stage I and II lesions.  The usual “look see” type of examination detects more advanced lesions, stage III and IV. A vaccine, Guardasil, is clinically effective and widely available.   While this cancer has an excellent 3 year survival rate, almost 90%, to vaccinate teens and young adults is an excellent idea.  The vaccine is commonly administered by family physicians.

Advanced techniques like these are what make us the best Albuquerque Family Dentist

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