Although human papillomavirus (HPV) in men is often misunderstood, it is a growing medical condition found in the oral cavity. Its treatment and risk factors have only recently caused more awareness, particularly among men over the age of 55.
How Common Is It?
As per an article titled "About HPV and maladies of the mouth" by India Today, "HPV is easily spread from person to person via intimate and sexual contact. Most patients that have an HPV infection are not aware of it and, by extension, spread the virus quickly." "The most common are HPV 16 and 18, accounting for about 70 per cent of cervical cancers," elaborates Dr Suneeta Mittal, director and head, obstetrics and gynaecology, Fortis memorial research institute, Gurgaon.
What Are Its Typical Symptoms?
Because most HPV viruses are found in the base of the throat, it is somewhat difficult to distinguish the true symptoms of the virus's effects on the mouth. The most familiar result of HPV is an oral-pharyngeal (throat) cancer. Common symptoms include lumps in the throat, neck or base of the tongue, a persistent hoarse cough or sore throat, difficulty swallowing or eating and the weight loss often associated with these symptoms.
What's the Primary Cause of Oropharyngeal Cancer?
HPV in men and the development of oropharyngeal cancer is about three times less prominent in females of the same age, and the cause ultimately comes from trends in those of a certain age. According to a well-researched article by India Today" Dr. Suneeta Mittal says, "Most girls who become infected with HPV do so within 2-5 years of becoming sexually active, so it is important to vaccinate before sexual debut."
What Can I Do to Prevent It?
There are three ways to reduce your risk of getting HPV:
Barriers such as condoms and rubber dams.
The Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) as included the HPV vaccine in its Universal Immunisation Schedule for children. It has been listed as an optional vaccine that can be given to children between the ages of 10 and 12. For girls older than 15 years of age, the IAP guidelines suggest that 2 doses be given, which can be increased to 3 doses for those with weaker immunity.
Routine oral cancer screenings by your dentist, at least annually, including a thorough exam of the base of the tongue and throat.
In addition, consider public education about the symptoms and causes of HPV, as well as related oral cancers, to help you identify early warning signs.
The good news is oral cancer, when detected early, yields a prognosis for recovery that is very good. That is why it is so important to seek regular dental care, wherein a screening can be performed to check for mouth cancer, HPV and numerous other preventable, treatable oral conditions.
For more information about HPV and oral cancers, ask your doctor. Sometimes the best information about vaccines and treatment for which you're eligible can be found right in your community.
According to an article by The News Minute, Dr. Tejeswini Potluri, an obstetrician and gynaecologist from Hyderabad explains, "The vaccine is generally recommended for women in this age group, although in some cases we do give the vaccine to older women. We take a call according to each individual's history". "There are currently two forms of the HPV vaccine available in India – Cervarix and Gardasil. "Cervarix is a bivalent vaccine, which covers two strains of the virus, while the form of Gardasil present in India is a quadrivalent vaccine which covers four strains of the virus," explains Dr Chethana.
About the Author: Dr. Huot is a Fellow of the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists, the Academy of General Dentistry, and the Pierre Fauchard AWHEcademy.Dr. Huot is a Fellow of the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists, the Academy of General Dentistry, and the Pierre Fauchard AWHEcademy.