what is oral cancer?
- Oral cancer is the cancer of the oral cavity (mouth) and oropharynx (throat). It may be more specifically referred to as mouth cancer, tongue cancer, tonsil cancer, and throat cancer
- Oral cancer is also the eleventh most common cancer in the world, accounting for an estimated 300,000 new cases and 145,000 deaths annually (GLOBOCAN2012)
What increases the risk of developing oral cancer?
- Tobacco and alcohol consumption: It’s is estimated that tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking increases the risk of developing oral cancer by 2-3 fold.
- HPV infection: It is estimated that oral HPV infection increases the risk of developing oral cancer by up to 32-fold.
How does oral hpv infection contribute to the development of oral cancer?
- Essentially, cancers are uncontrolled cell growth.
- In normal cells, cell growth is carefully regulated by various tumor suppressor genes.
- Persistent HPV infection could inactivate two important tumor suppressor genes: p53 and pRB, which initiates cancer development.
Can oral cancer be prevented?
- The risks of developing oral cancer can be reduced if individuals avoid tobacco use, heavy alcohol drinking, and reduce their exposure to oral HPV infections.
- Oral cancer is preceded by precancerous lesions.
- Detection, and treatment of these precancerous lesions can prevent the development of oral cancer
What is oral hpv screening and why is annual HPV screening important?
- Oral HPV screening determines the presence of HPV DNA in the mouth.
- HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the US. Infected individuals are frequently unaware that they are carriers, and transmission occurs unknowingly.
- Most HPV infections are asymptomatic, meaning there are no early and obvious symptoms.
- A persistent HPV infection can lead to a malignant transformation.
Who should do an annual HPV screening?
- Annual HPV screening becomes important when individuals become sexually active, engage in oral sex, and especially for those who have multiple partners.
- Annual screening is highly recommended for individuals who have family history of oral cancer, and are the partners of oral cancer patients