Oral Cancer is on the Rise, Including Cases Linked to HPV

by Jason 4/30/2012 10:10 AM

Oral cancer is no longer limited to older individuals who excessively drank alcohol, smoked or chewed tobacco. It is now on the rise among individuals who aren't engaging in those behaviors, with those aged 16 to 40 making up the fastest growing segment of the population falling victim to this disease. Today, oral cancer claims as many lives annually as skin cancer. This dangerous form of cancer often goes unnoticed and can be tricky to detect because it masquerades as harmless benign lesions.

Further impacting the increase of this disease is the human papillomavirus (HPV), a rapidly spreading sexually transmitted virus that has been garnering attention in recent years for causing cervical cancer in women. And now, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV has been established as a risk factor for oral cancer as well. And women aren't the only ones who should be concerned. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, a sharp rise in the rate of oropharyngeal cancer among men is being linked to HPV, and the number of cases in the United States is projected to rise 27 percent by 2020, surpassing the number of cases of cervical cancer in women.

Early detection of oral cancer is key, as it can increase an individual's survival rate to more than 80 percent and reduce associated healthcare costs. And because people visit their dentist more often than their primary care physicians, dentists are in a unique position to detect oral cancer in its early stages.

Comments (1) -

Marielaina Perrone DDS
Marielaina Perrone DDS United States
4/14/2013 3:31:20 PM #

Excellent dental education article. Early prevention is the key!


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