HPV Oral Cancer Overview
Human Pappiloma Virus (HPV) is a virus that has been link to many types of disease. Over eighty different types of HPV have been identified. Different types of the Human Papilloma Virus are known to infect different parts of the body.For example, venereal warts affecting the genitals and and cervical cancer affecting the cervix. The virus generally produces warts on the affected areas.
Currently there is a high prevalence rate of Human Pappiloma Virus 16 and 18 found in lesions of oral cancer patients. Therefore, it can be said that this virus is directly or concurrently linked to oral cancer.The reason for this occurrence is due to frequent oro-genital (mouth to genitals) sexual orientations. However, many other factors also contribute to the cause of oral cavity cancer.
HPV Oral Cancer Symptoms
- any white or red patch seen in the mouth
- ulceration that will not heal after 3-4 weeks.
- exophytic growth (any abnormal outward growing tissue)
- Ulcer is broad based, angry looking
- large exophytic growth( large outward growth of tissue)
- affected area is necrosis( tissue is grey or black ), rough, nodular, edges are rolled.
- The ulcer or lesion feels fixed to the underlying structures.
- pain is felt in that area
- loss of sensation in a particular area of the mouth.
- lymph nodes around the face and the neck are enlarged.
- If there is a spread to the back of the throat, patient might be unable to swallow.
- mobile teeth or fracture of jaw bone.
HPV Oral Cancer Treatments
- Chemotherapy ( Treatment using chemicals or drugs)
- Radiotherapy (Treatment using radiation therapy)
- Surgical excision of the affected tissues.
- Stop smoking.
- Stop betel nut chewing.
- Stop tobacco chewing.
- Stop alcohol consumption.
Causes of oral cavity cancer
HPV is not the only main factor causing oral cavity cancer. Oral cavity cancer occurrence is only possible due to multiple combined factors. These factors are :
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Betel nut chewing (areca nut and slake lime is folded onto a leaf and chewed)
- cigarette or tobacco smoking
- smokeless tobaccos , or snuff.
- possible lack of iron in the diet
- Constant irritation to the tissue caused by sharp teeth or ill fitting dentures
- Ultraviolet light form the sun can cause lip cancers.
- Immunosupression,(people with weak immunity status like HIV or diabetic patients are more prone)
- Chronic infection of the tissues can cause oral cavity cancer, for example candidiasis or syphilis.
Test and Diagnosis of HPV Oral Cancer
Some Oral cancer research or test has shown:
- squamous cell carcinoma is the most commonest type of oral cancer found in the mouth.
- 90% prevalence in Asia however only 2-4% prevalence in UK and US
- Higher in men compared to women
- 98% occur in patients more than 40 years of age
- mortality rate is about 30-40%, 5 year survival rate.
Most diagnosis of oral cancer is done by taking a fine needle biopsy of the tissue sample, The biopsy is than sent to the lab to be confirmed. Once confirmed to be cancerous, the next diagnosis would be staging the extent of the cancer. The staging used here is usually called the TMN. T- Tumor, M- metastasis(spread), N- nodes( lymph nodes involved).
Prognosis of HPV Oral Cancer
The prognosis of Oral cavity cancer is always good if :
- Early discovery of the cancer with early oral cancer screening. This can easily be done by visiting your dentist every 6 months for regular scaling.
- Site of the lesion, lesion is located at the front part of the mouth and not the back part of the throat.
- Patient is young and not old.
- Good clinical staging of the tumor.
Complication of HPV Oral Cancer
The only worst complication of Oral cavity cancer is death. As mentioned above, The mortality rate is 30-40% and only a 5 year survival rate.
When to contact a doctor
You should see a dentist if you spot any difference in your mouth. Especially when there is a difference in your oral tissues.
There should be concern when there are:
- Ulcers that don’t heal after weeks and all the possible causes eliminated.
- Any pain felt in the mouth while eating or at rest.
- Sudden difficulty in swallowing and eating
- Any growth or lump felt in the mouth.