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The Link Between HPV and Oral Cancer

A new study recently found that half of men in America may be infected with HPV (human papillomavirus).  This virus goes undetected and can get passed from person to person through sexual contact.  An estimated 75% to 80% of men and women will be affected by HPV in their lifetime.  Although the virus clears on its own in 90% of the people who obtain it, certain types have been linked to cause cervical cancer in women and evidence now shows that two-thirds of the cancers of the tongue and tonsils are caused by HPV.  Studies also show that 32,000 new cancer cases in the U.S. are caused by HPV and a growing number of these cases are men diagnosed with head and neck cancer.

HPV has been a hot topic over the last few years as the vaccination, GARDASIL, has been debated.  GARDASIL is the only vaccine that helps protect against four types of HPV.  The four most harmful strands are 6, 11, 16 and 18 which can cause diseases in both females and males.  Although the series of vaccines were originally intended for young females, the vaccine is now FDA approved for males as well.

To get more information on HPV and GARDASIL, please visit

Contributed by the Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons of BayCare Clinic

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