Oral Cancer and Virus
ORAL CANCER and VIRUS
by Dr. Harvey Barbag and Dr. Adam Barbag
Oral cancer has been associated with cigarette and other tobacco uses, including smokeless tobacco, and consumption of alcohol in combination with smoking. It has been advised that smoking be eliminated completely because of this association. Additionally, a risk factor that is not as widely known is the presence of HPV, human papillomavirus.
There are many HPV strains, many of which are benign and not life threatening. They can cause raised lesions in the mouth. However, the HPV 16 strain may be associated with oropharyngeal cancer. HPV in the mouth may be a leading cancer of the mouth and the pharynx. The symptoms range from enlarged lymph nodes, a sore throat that persists, and pain on swallowing. A rapid rise in the number of oral and throat cancers in the last ten years is believed to be related to an increase in HPV infections. If these symptoms persist for more than two weeks, a physician should be consulted.
There is a vaccine that has been advised by the Center of Disease Control to be given to preteens to prevent the virus infection. Regular visits to your dentist who can perform oral cancer examinations are advised. Speaking with your physician can be helpful in learning how to lower risk of infection.