When a very famous actor recently announced that he had contracted throat cancer from an HPV infection, it struck terror through the hearts of millions of Americans and brought attention to the issue like never before.
HPV, Humanpapilloma Virus, is the most common sexually transmitted disease, or STD. It can be contracted through oral, vaginal or anal sex.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, those who contract it can have no symptoms at all or a variety of symptoms, ranging from genital warts to cancers of the throat, mouth, anus or cervix. Sometimes, symptoms can appear years after contracting HPV.
As a precaution, the CDC recommends that all Americans be tested for HPV and be inoculated with the HPV vaccine. The CDC is even recommending the vaccine for children as young as 11 years old, a subject that has been understandably very controversial among parents.
Here’s another alarming fact about HPV: Recent research has linked it to the development of as much as a fifth of all cases of oral and throat cancer. Other risk factors include age, tobacco and alcohol use and poor diet.
In April, which is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, your local dentists and dental hygienists urge you to take advantage of the free oral cancer screenings that are being offered or, better yet, schedule a regular dental examination and ask that an oral cancer screening be a routine part of it.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Michael Juban, Juban Dental Care
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