Tag Archives: HPV

10 Tips to Help Lower Your Risk Of Oral Cancer (Part 2)

Oral cancer represents approximately 4% of all cancers in the United States, and claims approximately 9,750 lives annually because most cases are detected too late. Luckily, oral cancer is one of the more preventable types of cancer, as many of the risk factors are dependent on lifestyle choices such as drinking too much, smoking or eating unhealthily (as we looked at in Part 1). Let’s take a look at some more preventative measures you can take:

  1. Watch out for HPV – Infections of the high risk HPV strain #16 in the throat (spread via oral sex or deep kissing) have been linked to oropharyngeal cancer. Not all people who contract high risk strains of HPV will develop cancer, but it does increase the risk of oral and other cancers, so be sure to practice safe sexual behavior.
  2. Stay active – Leading a healthy, active lifestyle helps lessen your risk for developing any kind of cancer, or other diseases for that matter. Keeping your body in a ship-shape will help it to fight off disease better.
  3. Check yourself – We all know we should do self examinations for breast, prostate or skin cancer, and your mouth should be no exception. By using a compact mirror or an angled dental mirror (you can buy them at most dollar stores), take note of what your mouth looks like so you can see if your gums change, or if you develop abnormal spots. Abnormal colored patches on your gums, tongue or cheeks are called leukoplakia and eyrthroplakia, and they could eventually become cancerous so it is best to get your dentist to check on them if they develop.
  4. Chemoprevention is an option – If you are at very high risk for oral cancer because of a combination of factors such as advanced age, heredity or if you are prone to leukoplakia eyrthroplakia growths, talk to your doctor about chemoprevention medications which may help prevent cancer development.
  5. Get regular dental checkups – It is very important to visit your dentist annually and your dental hygienist about every 6 months so the professionals can take a look at your mouth to make sure everything looks healthy, as well as ensure that your oral hygiene techniques are on point.

So, there you have it, the last few of our oral cancer prevention tips! While oral cancer is not completely preventable, practicing these 10 tips will certainly put you at much lower risk of developing it. Thanks for visiting DocChat!


Do You Know Enough About HPV?

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most prevalent sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the world. So much so, that the vast majority of sexually active men and women will contract it at some point during their lives. Most times the virus does not cause lasting health problems, but certain strains of the virus can cause genital warts or cancer so it is important to know the facts and get regular check-ups and pap smears to detect any abnormal developments.

HPV Fast Facts

  • More than half of all sexually active people will contract some form of HPV at some point, but many won’t even know it.
  • The CDC estimates over 79 million sexually active Americans are infected with HPV, with approximately 14 million new infections annually.
  • There are over 100 strains of HPV, most of which are relatively harmless and will pass through the system without causing any noticeable symptoms.
  • The longer certain high-risk strains of HPV stay in a person’s body, the more likely their chances of developing such types of cancer as anal, oropharynx, penis or cervical.
  • If you get regular pap smears, your tests will usually reveal abnormal HPV cells before they turn cancerous, so it is vital to get yearly pep smears if you are a sexually active woman. This is especially important since abnormal cells or cervical cancer likely won’t produce any warning signs.
  • If you spontaneously develop warts in your genital area, HPV (or herpes) is likely responsible.
  • Genital warts associated with HPV can be pink or reddish or skin colored and can be flat, raised or clustered together. They can develop on the thigh, groin, penis, cervix, vagina or anus.
  • HPV-related genital warts don’t necessarily make their presence known right away. They may show up weeks, months or even years after initial exposure, making the time and source from which you contracted HPV difficult to identify.
  • You may even have HPV if you’ve only been sexually active with one person (who has had previous sexual partners).
  • HPV can be spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected person and can be passed from a person who has no visible signs or symptoms of an infection.
  • Approximately 70% of HPV-related cancer cases are caused by strain 16 and strain 18.
  • About 95% of anal cancer are caused by HPV (strain 16)
  • Strains 6 and 11 are responsible for over 90% of cases of HPV-related genital warts.
  • There are approximately 26,900 cases of cancer are caused by HPV annually.

What Can Be Done To Prevent HPV?

Because HPV is so widespread, it is difficult to protect yourself completely against contracting it, however there are measures you can take to minimize your chances of developing high-risk types of HPV. Some of which include:

  • Get vaccinated – The CDC recommends 11-12 year-olds get two HPV vaccines to protect against high-risk HPV in the future. Young men and women who haven’t been vaccinated should do so as well. Check out the CDC recommendations of who should and should not be vaccinated.
  • People who are sexually active should use a condom (properly) each time they have vaginal or anal sex, as well as using condoms or dental dams for oral sex.
  • You can decrease your chances of contracting it significantly by having mutually monogamous sex (neither you or your partner have other sexual partners besides each other).


That concludes our look at the need-to-know facts about HPV. Thanks for visiting DocChat!

Cervical Cancer Fast Facts

Cervical cancer is the second leading cancer that strikes women worldwide. Let’s look at some of the key facts and statistics about cervical cancer:

  • The cervix is the lower, narrowing part of a woman’s uterus. Some cervical cancers are a result of a tumor that forms there gradually.
  • Approximately 12,000 American women are diagnosed with cervical cancer annually.
  • Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by a the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) which is extremely prevalent in the United States.
  • Cervical cancer can be largely prevented with regular pap smears, screening and vaccination and also has a high treatment cure rate.
  • Women who have had many sexual partners, have HIV, use birth control for many years, or who have given birth multiple times are at greater risk of developing cervical cancer.
  • Smoking also greatly increases a woman’s risk of developing cervical cancer, among many other types of cancer.
  • Fetal exposure to the medication diethylstilbestrol (DES) that was prescribed between 1938 and 1971 has been linked to later development of cervical cancer as well.
  • Some cervical cancers are asymptomatic (they do not produce any obvious symptoms), which means it can be slowly growing in a person who isn’t getting the proper screenings to catch it
  • In some cases symptoms such as spotting (bleeding between cycles), vaginal discharge, spotting after menopause, pelvic pain during sex or at random times may indicate cervical cancer.
  • Precancerous cells detected during a pap smear can be successfully eradicated with cauterization, laser surgery or cryosurgery.
  • Undetected and untreated cervical cancer will cause approximately 4120 deaths this year.
  • If the cancer is detected early, the 5-year survival rate is encouraging at 92%.
  • It can take up to 15 years for damaged cells to replicate to the point of cancer formation.
  • Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer for women worldwide (after breast cancer).
  • There are many treatments available for precancerous cells and cervical cancer, the treatment will depend on the person and her individual case and overall health.

As this cancer can grow silently for years, the bottom line to preventing more cases of (and deaths by) cervical cancer is to get screened regularly. If you have any questions about cervical cancer or any other health-related matter, our experienced board certified physicians are standing by 24/7/365 to assist you. Thanks for visiting DocChat!