Oral and oropharyngeal cancer are part of a group of cancers commonly referred to as head and neck cancers. Studies now show that HPV is the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancers. Even though oral cancer is largely unfamiliar to the public, the American Cancer Society estimates that in 2019 about 53,000 people will be diagnosed with some form. In published studies, white, non-smoking males age 35 to 55 are most at risk, 4 to 1 over females.

Research confirms HPV connection

Of the more than 50,000 cases of oral and oropharyngeal cancer per year, about 70 percent are thought to be caused by HPV, according to the CDC. And while the incidence of cancers due to tobacco use are on the decline, “HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancers are increasing,” says Nishant Agrawal, MD, a head and neck cancer surgeon at UChicago Medicine.

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Be proactive with your oral health

At C R Dental GroupDr. James Reisman, voted one of the Best Dentists in Dallas, and his associate Dr. Jordana Contrucci stress the importance of oral cancer screenings. Although signs and symptoms of oral cancer can vary from person to person, they most commonly develop on the tongue, gums, or throat, making your dentist the first line of defense for early detection of the disease. Be sure to see your dentist and hygienist at least twice a year. Being proactive can be as simple as expressing any concerns you may have, which could in turn help in prevention, and possibly save your life.