HPV related Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Facts:
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Causes as many oral cancers as tobacco and alcohol
- Primary cause of cancers of the tonsils, lower tongue and upper toroat
- HPV caused cancers of oral region has doubled since 1974
- HPV caused oral cancers will surpass those caused by alcohol and tobacco within the next 10 years.
- Possible transmission source: multiple sex partners, unwashed hands, sharing of saliva
HPV 16, 18 causes 95% of cervical cancers -- 50-65% of all Oral Cancers are HPV related
Oral Cancer Statistics:
- 41,000 people in the US are diagnosed yearly with Oral Cancer
- Approximately 12,000 will die each year with Oral Cancer
- 66% will be diagnosed at late stage III or IV of the disease
- Past risk: Tobacco, alcohol and over 40 years of age
- Today: Face of oral cancer is changing with the fastest growing population being age range 18-40 years
- Non-smoke and no excessive alcohol use younger people are developing Oral Cancer but.... smoking increases the risk by 3 times and excessive alcohol increases the risk by 2.5 times
- HPV is a known risk factor and independent causative factor for oral cancer
- HPV infected individuals have an increased risk (up to 32 times) of developing oral cancer more than those who did not have the virus.
- Of the approximately 120 strains of HPV, only 9 or 10 are causative to Cancers and only HPV 16, 18 area related to Oral and Oral-phrayngeal Cancers
Now there is a simple and quick in office salivary diagnostic test that can test for Oral HPV - called OraRisk HPV developed by OralDNA Labs who are innovators in Salivary Diagnostics -- and available here - at the office of William T Myers DDS (Huntington Dental Group).
HPV is a salivary contagious and transmissible virus (via 'deep kissing' and oral sexual contact). If tested for oral HPV with a 'positive' reading or test result, this DOES NOT mean one has oral cancer - but that the saliva contains the HPV virus which can be a causative factor in the development of oral-oralpharyneal cancer. If a positive test result, through and regularily scheduled oral cancer exams and pre-oral cancer screenings are highly suggested.
If a female patient has or has had cervical cancer, it would be suggested for her partner or spouse to have periodic OraRisk HPV testing on a timely and regularily scheduled basis. If a man were to test positive for oral HPV, then it would be suggested that in addition to oral cancer exams and pre-oral cancer screenings for himself, his and his partner's or spouse's physician (or OB/GYN physician) be informed of the findings so that determinations as to diagnostic procedures can be recognized.
The majority of dental and medical insurance plans/carriers DO NOT recognize Oral DNA salivary diagnostics as 'covered' or 'allowable' procedures but hopefully as 'they' become educated, enlightened and are pressured to do so, they will consider salivary DNA testing much as they do for cervical exams and PAP smear diagnostics. We do however, still submit both dental and medical claims for the salivary DNA - HPV diagnostics as a courtesy for our patients with some (although few) carriers recognizing the importance of cancer and cancer causative diagnostics.