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Human Papillomavrius (HPV) and Oropharyngeal Cancer

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

The Human papillomavrius (HPV) is famous for causing several forms of cancer.  It is a persistent infection that causes changes in squamous epithelial cells.  Young adults are known for being predominant carriers and some studies predict that HPV-related cancers will be as high as 47% of all head/neck cancer cases.  CDC research has shown there may actually be more male HPV related oropharyngeal cancer cases vs female cervical cancer cases.

HPV has more than 100 strains but HPV-16 is notorious for carcinogenic properties associated with oropharyngeal cancer.  Studies suggest HPV 16 increase cancer risk as much as 10 times and is generally found in tonsillar and base of tongue cancers.

HPV vaccine has been hailed as being highly effective in preventing cervical precancerous lesions.  Studies show, over a 4 year duration, that 93.3% efficacy of the HPV vaccine against cancer formation.  Therefore researchers believe the incidence of oropharyngeal cancer should decrease accordingly since the same viral types cause cervical cancer lesions.  Most practitioners advise age 11 to 12 year old to receive the HPV vaccine.  Compliance with this recommendation is still somewhat low in the United States.  Studies that performed statistical analysis of different states found states that promoted HPV vaccines tended to have lower oropharyngeal cancer numbers.

Brian Y. Kuo DDS FAGD

(626) 800-8022

🏥 Family dentistry in Arcadia


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