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Oral HPV and How to Prevent It

Oral HPV has Surpassed Cervical Cancer

Human Papillomavirus, or more commonly known as HPV, causes about 31,500 cases of cancer in men and women each year in the U.S. alone. HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer, which is HPV cancer in the mouth and throat area, has surpassed cervical cancer as the most prevalent HPV cancer! In the U.S., certain strains of HPV cause 70% of oropharyngeal cancer, which in turn affects approximately 11,600 people per year.

But there is good news:

HPV is highly preventable through vaccination. And it starts early. The HPV vaccination can be given to boys and girls as early as nine, but should be started no later than 11-12 years of age, as it is most effective prior to age 13. If for some reason the vaccine series was not administered during those ideal years, it can still be administered up to age 26 in both men and women.

Although most cases of HPV resolve without incident, 2.5% of adolescents in America have HPV. The HPV vaccination works by preventing the majority of HPV strains causing genital warts and cancer. Since 2006 when children first started receiving this vaccination, there has been a 71% decrease in genital warts and HPV cancers among teen girls.

It is equally important for boys to get vaccinated, especially when it comes to preventing oral cancers. Oropharynx cancers are about four times more common in men than women, with one in nine men in America having oral HPV.

Make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician to administer the vaccine. If you are an adult under the age of 26, your primary care physician can provide more information.

If you have any concerns about oral cancer or would like a oral cancer screening, please make an appointment at Floss.

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