Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted infection that has been linked to a growing number of cases of oral cancer. According to recent studies, HPV is responsible for about 70% of oropharyngeal cancers (cancer of the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils), which is more than double the amount of cases caused by smoking and heavy alcohol use combined.
This type of cancer is more common in men than in women, and it often affects people in their 40s and 50s. Symptoms include a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and a lump in the back of the throat. As with other types of oral cancer, early detection is key to effective treatment.
To reduce the risk of oral cancer caused by HPV, it is recommended to get the HPV vaccine, which can protect against the types of HPV that are most likely to cause cancer. It is also important to practice safe sex and to avoid smoking and heavy alcohol consumption.