2711 Randolph Road Suite 205
Charlotte, NC 28207
Blog 5 ~ How is the human papilloma virus strain #16 (HPV16) linked to oral cancer?
One of the most common virus groups in the world today affecting the skin and mucosal (mouth and genital) areas of the body is the human papilloma virus. Over 120 different types/strains of HPV have been identified, and different types are known to infect different parts of the body. The most visible forms of the virus produce warts (papilloma's) on the hands, arms, legs, and other areas of the skin. Most HPV's of this type are very common, harmless, non cancerous, and easily treatable. HPV transmission can be quite simple with just skin to skin contact transferring the virus. There are other forms of HPV which are sexually transmitted, and some of these are a serious problem. Two types of genital tract HPV in particular, HPV 16 and HPV 18, are known to cause the vast majority of cervical cancers, and new studies show that one of them, HPV16, is also linked to oral cancer. In the oral environment HPV16 shows up primarily in areas in the back of the mouth, such as the base of the tongue, the oropharynx (the back of the throat), and the tonsils. The fastest growing segment of the oral cancer population is young, healthy, non-smokers, due to the connection to the HPV16 virus.