How HPV Causes Oral Cancer

HPV remains one of the common sexually transmitted infection of our age.HPV is known to spread through direct sexual contact to the genitals, with the mouth and throat involved. Oral sex, as established, leads the spread of Oral HPV into the mouth and the whole area of the oral cavity.

Oral HPV and Oral cancer are harder to discover when compared to other types of cancers. Their symptoms are not always evident to the individual who has contracted and is developing the disease. The pain associated with the same remains very subtle, making it even harder for health professionals to discover it.

HPV and Its Spread

At a particularly given stage in our lives, we are all exposed to oral HPV. Although oral HPV infection is more common with older age, persons of a younger age are also exposed due to their sexual lives’ emerging nature. HPV is primarily sexually transmitted and infects the genital areas and oral cavity, as illustrated at With nearly 200 different strains of HPV, only nine are known to cause cancers as others are harmless and non-cancerous.

It is believed a person can have HPV for decades before detecting it. You may test negative for it during different times, as the immune system tries to fight and clear it. HPV-16, which also causes cervical and penile cancer, is the leading cause of Oral cancer. Oral sex and frequent sexual encounters without barrier usage are attributed to be the super-spreaders of the HPV-16.

Oral Cancer as Caused by HPV

As it is found to be the lead cause of oropharyngeal cancers, HPV primarily attacks the tonsils, tonsillar crypt, and tongue base. The HPV16 is also known to attack both males and females, with males bearing considerable risk. When a person carrying the Human papillomavirus engages in oral sexual activity, the virus is passed from the genitals and into the oral cavity, infecting the mouth and throat

It may take years before the infected person develops any form of cancer. Scientists are also seeking to determine if HPV interacts with cancer-causing habits such as smoking to accelerate oral cancer development. The increasing prevalence of HPV infections that are now found to be causing Oral cancer in more men than women is accredited to the current changes in sexual practices and the high number of sexual partners.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

  • Sores that take a longer time to heal
  • Discoloration of either red or black on the soft tissues in the mouth
  • Difficult or painful swallowing with a sticking sensation in the throat when swallowing
  • Swollen, painless tonsil.
  • A persistent sore throat or hoarse voice and swelling or lump in the mouth

Since Oral cancer remains to have no cure, it is essential to be mindful of the sexual practices one engages in. The HPV ideally has no treatment known but goes away by itself within two years without causing any health problems. Taking an HPV vaccine will also reduce your chances of contracting the virus.


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