Human Papilloma Virus vaccines may decrease chances of oral cancer

Aug 30, 2007

The Centers for Disease Control report that nearly 25 million women are infected with some form of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Of those, more than three million are thought to have one of the four strains known to cause cases of cervical cancer and genital warts.

HPV is linked to oropharyngeal cancer and may be linked to oral cancers as well, and vaccines that have been developed to treat HPV might decrease the risk of these cancers, according to a study in the May/June issue of General Dentistry, the clinical, peer-reviewed journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).

James J. Closmann, BS, DDS, the lead author of the study, found that oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OOSCC) have been linked to high-risk HPV strains, the same strains that cause cervical cancer.

Recently, a vaccine was developed to treat patients with HPV against cervical cancer, and this could have an effect on women’s oral health.

“More than 100 strains of HPV have been identified,” says Dr. Closmann. “They have been shown to cause other benign and malignant disorders, which now include those in the mouth. Nearly 30,000 new cases of oral and oropharyngeal cancer are reported each year. It’s possible that oral and oropharyngeal cancers could be reduced if vaccination were more widespread; however, additional research is needed.”

Additional research could result in a comprehensive test for dentists at patients’ semiannual visits. However, a dentist can perform a head and neck exam to detect early signs, despite the lack of a specific test. A possible connection between HPV and oral cancers, and the stronger link to oropharyngeal cancers, is even more of an indicator that patients should visit the dentist twice a year to identify irregularities early.

“Visiting the dentist on a regular basis is an important factor in the detection of any oral health complication,” says Laura Murcko, DMD, spokesperson for the AGD. “Taking preventive measures is especially important, and your dentist can check for early signs of oral cancer.”

Oral Health Tips for Women:

-- Keep your dentist informed about changes in oral health.

-- Visit the dentist regularly, which will help them to detect changes in the mouth.

-- Ask your dentist to take a full medical history to determine if you are at risk for certain problems.

-- Ask your dentist to perform a complete a head and neck exam to detect early signs of certain conditions.

Source: Academy of General Dentistry

Explore further: Chronic inflammation linked to 'high-grade' prostate cancer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Human papillomavirus lesion identified at the dentist

Feb 18, 2009

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of viruses that includes more than 100 different strains or types and is the most common sexually transmitted virus. The American Social Health Association (ASHA) reports that 75 percent ...

Recommended for you

Unraveling the 'black ribbon' around lung cancer

Apr 17, 2014

It's not uncommon these days to find a colored ribbon representing a disease. A pink ribbon is well known to signify breast cancer. But what color ribbon does one think of with lung cancer?

User comments : 0

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.