Oral Cancer and Cervical Cancer

 

What do Oral Cancer and Cervical Cancer in common. Aside from the fact they are both a horrific thing to be diagnosed with, the common denominator is the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

In Australia, since the late 1990’s, there has been a steady increase in the number of mouth and throat cancers that have been attributed to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), particularly type 16, which is a sexually transmitted infection.  There are more than 100 different types of HPV, with HPV16 considered the most dangerous and responsible for throat and cervical cancers.

About 70% of oral cancers are caused by HPV in both men and women, but only a small percentage of people who are exposed to the HPV virus will develop cancer.

The estimated deaths from head and neck cancer in Australia in 2016 is 1016 people, of these it is estimated 769 will be male, and 247 women succumbing to the disease.

Again, the process of screening and early detection is the key to recovering from oral cancer. Maintaining dental appointments increases chances of early detection.

Cervical cancer, which of course only affects women, is on the decline in Australia. Australia now has the lowest mortality rates and second lowest incidence rates of cervical cancer in the world. Cervical Cancer is now the 11th most diagnosed cancer in Australia. What has cervical cancer got to do with mouth and neck cancers? The common denominator is the HPV16 virus. The main cause of cervical cancers are smoking and presence of the HPV16 virus.

Australia has seen the death rate due to cervical cancer reduce, and this has been deemed to be due to the National Screening program started in 1991 – this program allowed for regular screening of women over age 18 and was able to detect cervical cancer in its early stage, allowing for prompt treatment.

More good news is the release of the HPV vaccination in 2007 – successful to date at reducing sexually transmitted HPV in 90% of our young people.  The use of vaccinations will further reduce the cervical and mouth and neck cancers in the next generations of Australians.