September 05, 2013

HPV Oral Cancer on the Rise

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is responsible for more than 5% of all cancers, including all cervical cancers.  Presently, an estimated 63% of oropharyngeal cancers are caused by HPV, and tha percentage is rising.  At current rates, oropharyngeal cancer will become the leading HPV-related cancer in the United States by the year 2020, surpassing the yearly number of cervical cancers.  An estimated 7,400 new cases of HPV-related oropharyngeal cancers are diagnosed annually.  These cases are highest among adults in their late 20's and late 50's.  Men outnumber women 4:1.  These cancers are most commonly found on the tonsils.  Others are found at the base of the tongue.  In these areas, diagnosis is usually at advanced stages (75% stage III/IV), with lymph node involvement.

While the prevalence of HPV infection is about 7% in the general population, it can be as high as 20% for those with more that 20 lifetime sex partners (oral, anal, and/or vaginal) or who smoke more than 20 cigarettes daily.


Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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