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Oral Cancer and Human Papillomavirus

Posted by Gourav Gautam


The human papillomavirus is becoming an increasingly common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in India. Based on Indian studies, 5% of all women in India carry HPV and 82.7% of all cervical cancers showed the presence of HPV. But HPV isn’t only related to cervical cancer, some types of HPV (there are more than 40 types) also affect the mouth and the throat. Low risk strains can cause mouth and throat warts, while high risk strains are associated with head and neck cancers, which include oral cancers (also called mouth cancer). These cancers affect the mouth, throat, tonsils and back of the tongue. 17% to 50% (depending upon geography) of oral cancer patients in India were found to have HPV, regardless of whether they use tobacco or not, and this study is not a recent one (2011).

Symptoms of HPV Related Oral Cancer

  • A sore, soreness, or irritation in the mouth that doesn’t go away.
  • Red and white patches, pain, tenderness, or numbness in mouth or lips
  • Lumps, thickening issues, rough stops, crusty or eroded areas
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth


Patients also complain of a persistent sore throat, a feeling like something is caught in the throat, hoarseness, changes in voice, earaches, pain when swallowing and unexplained weight loss. If the above mentioned symptoms persist for two weeks, you should see a doctor. Oral cancer treatment has advanced a lot in India, and if diagnosed in early stages can be treated without much difficulty. There are cancer hospitals in Patna, which are among the best cancer hospitals in Bihar and Jharkhand, and have the leading oncologists in Patna. Establishment of super-specialty hospitals has made cancer treatment in Patna at par with metropolitan cities.

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