HPV Associated Oral Cancer is Epidemic
Over the last thirty years, oropharyngeal cancer in the U.S. has grown about 5% per year. Thirty years ago, it was thought this cancer was due to smoking and drinking alcohol, but now it is known that 70% of the cases of this specific cancer are caused by a strain of HPV (human papillomavirus). HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus and was once thought to affect only women. Now, this cancer linked to HPV is prevalent in four times the number of men as women.
Over 80% of sexually active individuals will be exposed to HPV infection in their lifetime. There are many strains of HPV. Once exposed, some strains of HPV remain in the body as a latent infection, only to be reactivated by a weakness in the immune system. HPV-caused cancers are often asymptomatic until late stages.
HPV vaccines are available and highly recommended, especially for teens and young adults before they become sexually active.
When you visit your dentist, you should notice them examining your throat, palpating the neck glands and checking around your tongue. This is an oral cancer screening. Due to its location in the back of the throat, oropharyngeal cancer is hard to detect visually.
A simple saliva test can detect its presence in your system. The cost of testing is $125, and early detection is advised. Knowing your HPV status is the first step towards reducing your associated risk.
Lake Grove Dental
16455 Boones Ferry Rd.
Lake Oswego, OR 97035