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More Oral Cancer Screenings Needed Due To HPV
Dentists consider well know risk factors to determine whether to perform oral cancer screenings.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common sexually transmitted disease that infects between 20 to 40 million people in the United States. Each year the numbers of infected people increase. Research suggests that every year an additional 5.5 million people (!) become infected.
More concrete numbers show that as high as 75 percent of the sexually Americans have at one point been carriers of the virus. Of this number, only a tiny percentage of between one and five percent have noticeable symptoms. Since some adolescents become sexually active as early as age 12, HPV risk starts at an early age.
Dental professionals unaware of the new HPV risk
HPV has been found to cause cervical cancer. The same strain, (Type 16) also causes oropharyngeal cancer. Oddly enough...HPV related squamous cell cancers have a better prognosis than non-HPV cancers.
Since HPV causes cancer in individuals who don't have the classic risk profile...everybody is at risk.
This new information shows that oral cancer screenings should be performed on all adolescents and adults at least once per year.