Like all cancers, oral cancer is caused by the overgrowth of cells. HPV oral cancer specifically occurs when Human Papillomavirus (HPV) causes this overgrowth of cells in the mouth region. Although HPV is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is transmitted from person to person through skin-to-skin genital contact, it can still be contracted orally and cause major damage to your mouth.
HPV oral cancer is difficult to discover because unlike other cancers, it has a very subtle way of presenting itself. Someone with oral cancer may assume that they are simply suffering through an ulcer or sore in the mouth that will eventually pass when the symptom really is the beginnings of cancer. This means that many people only begin receiving treatment for their cancer when it has progressed into a dangerous state.
The only way to know whether or not you have HPV oral cancer is by getting an oral cancer screening by your dentist or dental hygienist. Be sure to visit a registered dental hygienist for an oral cancer exam if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- An ulcer or sore in the mouth that does not heal within 2-3 weeks
- Pain in the mouth that does not go away
- A white or red patch inside the mouth
- Difficult or painful swallowing or persistent sore throat or hoarse voice
- Trouble moving the jaw or tongue
- A painless lump in the neck or mouth lasting more than 2 weeks
Know your partner’s sexual history before engaging in an act that can have serious consequences for your oral and overall health. If you would like to book an oral cancer screening and get tested for HPV oral cancer, call Maple Dental Hygiene Care at 416.835.5002.