The connection between hpv and oral cancer

There is a significant rise in oral cancer, even at a time when smoking has decreased. Could this be a connection between hpv and oral cancer? A resounding yes it is. The numbers of oral cancers linked to sexually transmitted human papilloma virus have risen sharply over the past decade. And this virus now accounts for more oral cancers than tobacco.

The hpv virus has been known to cause cervical, genital, anal and neck cancer. But this nasty bug is now fueling an increase in oral cancer. This has raised a paramount concern among researchers.

In 1980s, a research study conducted in 3 states – Iowa, Los Angeles and Hawaii showed that hpv-related cancer rose tremendously. Occurring at a time when cigarette smoking had declined, the unusual rise just indicates how the virus, far more than smoking, is related to oral cancer.

So why are men at risk more than women?

While hpv is the principal cause of cervical cancer in women, the nasty virus is now ravaging an entirely different group – men. Oral cancer is rising among men. And the culprit isn’t the devil you might think, as this increasing rate is not caused by tobacco. Rather, by the dreaded hpv virus. Quite a notable point about the connection of hpv and oral cancer.

Today, with an ever-increasing exchange of sexual partners, there is a tremendous increase in oral sex. This might just have to do with the rising risk of the disease in men, as hpv-positive oropharynx cancer is on the rise in men too. Women can get oral cancer from, men though; their chances are much low.

The mention of oral cancer usually evokes images of gravely voiced chain-smokers, but the disease, as you have already seen, has now acquired a different dimension through oral sex. The relation between hpv and oral cancer is real. How will our middle-aged, nonsmoking men be protected?

The only available hpv vaccine is currently given to young women and girls. However, there are plans to give a shot to boys. Let’s hope this helps.

While tobacco use has reduced over the previous decade, hpv infection rate has kept rising. And this affects at least half of the sexually active population. Though researchers are not sure why, men have a greater risk of contracting the virus than women do.

Since the virus has a lower survival rate, screening is crucial. Oral cancer screening enables early detection and consequently, early treatment. When cancer is detected in its early stages, treatment can be administered while the cancer is still in its highly curable stages.

When screening isn’t done, the condition will just become fatal. It will result in cancer spreading to the lymph nodes and subsequently throughout the body. This explains why the survival rate drops considerably in the late stages – then, the prognosis becomes poor.

The survival rate is up to 95% when oral cancer is treated in its early stages. This is contrary to the late stages where it drops to as low as 5%.

In a nutshell, since hpv and oral cancer are closely related, let’s embrace oral cancer screening. We shouldn’t leave this out to smokers.

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