Oral & Throat Cancer

As if cervical cancer, penile cancer and anal cancer weren’t enough of a concern; as a result of the human papillomavirus (HPV), certain strains of HPV are now found in up to 50 percent of oral or oropharyngeal cancers.

Oral cancer was brought to the forefront when actor, Michael Douglas announced his throat cancer diagnosis on The David Letterman Show in 2010. Because of the actor’s popularity and the seriousness of the disease, a wave of interest resulted in the subject of oral cancer and where it comes from.

In the past, the traditional risk factors for getting oropharyngeal cancer were using tobacco products and alcohol. Now, researchers are finding the growing risk factor is the Human Papillomavirus. Oral cancers that are associated with HPV occur most commonly in white males 50 or older. But the Oral Cancer Foundation reports that younger people are getting oral cancers due to a HPV infection.

Mucous membranes are known to be a fertile environment for HPV in the cervix. That’s why oral cancer, throat cancer and cancer of the head and neck are being attributed to HPV found in the mucous membranes in the throat and mouth.

Typical symptoms of oral or throat cancer include a lump or sore in the mouth that does not heal, a sore throat that does not go away, difficulty swallowing, and a change or hoarseness in the voice.

When caught early enough, oral, throat, head and neck cancers are highly curable.