Monday, June 18, 2012

HPV Oral Cancer in the News Crystal Lake Dentist

HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) Incidence Rising.

A virus lives inside a cell

What is HPV?
HPV is a group viruses. These like all viruses live inside cells. When they enter a cell, they take over and use the cell's reproductive capacity to reproduce themselves and thus spread. Most viruses have a short life outside the body and are usually species specific (you cannot catch a virus from your dog and vice versa).
The HPV virus causes a type of wart (papilloma). 
HPV  papilloma on the skin

What is the History of HPV?
It was first discovered in the 1950's. In 1972 the association with skin cancer and HPV5 was made. A few years later it was learned that there was a link between HPV 16, HPV18 and cervical cancers. More recently a link between these same HPV strains (16 and 18) and certain oral cancers has been established.

How is HPV passed?
HPV can be passed by kissing

HPV is commonly considered a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD). Skin to skin contact is usually necessary to pass the virus. A sexual act is not necessary to pass it. Deep Kissing and Oral Sex can cause HPV infections of the mouth. It has been postulated that drinking from the same glass has passed the virus from an infected individual to another in rare instances. 

What are the chances of getting HPV?

chances are high thay all of you will get HPV at some time

Almost everyone will be infected with a strain of HPV at some time in their life. There many strains of HPV. The majority of these are usually self limiting and of no consequence. 

Are some HPV infections dangerous?
Some are dangerous but most are not. Most of the time, HPV is self limiting. The virus can be dormant for years and appear/reappear at any time. The body's natural immune system normally will get rid of the virus.

Why is HPV on the rise?
Changes in sexual activity are the driver in the increase of HIV, HPV, and other STD's. People are experimenting with sex at very early ages. Oral sex has become very popular as one way to prevent pregnancy. This is leading to a drastic rise in oral HPV infections.

Why are we concerned about oral HPV?
The 2 strains of HPV that lead to cancer are causing a rapid increase in oral cancer among the younger adult population. This group was low risk for oral cancer in the past and now is the fastest growing group. Oral cancer has a low survival rate when detected late.

What can be done HPV?
Parents, this means your children are at risk as well as you. Since deep kissing is all that is needed to pass this virus, children who are not sexually active can still develop oral HPV and oral cancer.
  • Changing social behavior though not easy is the best method of eliminating this epidemic.
  • Consider getting vaccinated against the most common and deadly forms of HPV at an early age.
  • Get yourself and your children tested for HPV.
  • Make sure your gynecologist and dentist are doing regular cancer screenings.

What does the dentist do?
a visual and digital oral cancer screening is a good start
Vizilite for advanced oral cancer screening

oral CDX swabbing a suspected area
Velscope advanced oral cancer detection

There are 4 ways that a dentist can screen for oral cancer.
  • A visual and digital exam (look and feel)
  • A Vizilite exam using a dye and special light
  • Oral CDX swab for cancer cells of a suspicious area
  • Velscope exam ( a special light and filter)
Is something is unusual, the dentist may want to check it again in 2 weeks to see if it has cleared up and or refer for a biopsy.

What We Recommend.
If your dentist's office is not doing at least a visual/ digital screening for oral cancer at every checkup, find a new dentist. We use the Velscope VX and strongly recommend an advanced oral tissue scan on everyone age 14 and up every 6 months.

References for HPV vaccine.

 Dr. Neal answers all of your questions about HPV and advanced oral cancer detection at Crystal Lake Dental

Phillip C. Neal DDS
Crystal Lake Dental Associates
280 B Memorial Court
Crystal Lake, Illinois 60014
                                    815 459 2202           

Your comments are welcome


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  2. Thanks for visiting and the kind words... Have a great day.
    Phillip C. Neal DDS

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About Me

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Born in the Midwest. Married with 6 children and 3 grandchildren. Attended Maine West High School, Harper Jr College, Northern Illinois University, the University of Illinois College of Dentistry. Practice in Crystal Lake, Illinois.