Thursday, June 20, 2013

Oral Cancer & HPV

Oral cancer refers to cancer in any part of your mouth like tongue, lips, palate etc., Cancer may be due to various reasons like irritation due to continuous alcohol consumption, smoking, poor oral hygiene etc., And it can also happen due to Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

Human Papilloma Virus is a type of non enveloped virus (Papilloma) that can infect humans. They are classified generally as "High Risk" and "Low Risk" types. The high risk type HPV 16 is found to cause oro-pharyngeal cancer.

Diagnosis: Generally biopsy is done where a small part of your tumor is removed and observed under microscope. The biopsy can be just cutting a small portion or it can also be done using brush for collecting the cells.

After confirming the abnormality using this microscopic observation, further analysis is done for finding out the type of HPV which caused the oral cancer or to find whether the cancer is just because of alcohol/smoking.

This further analysis can be done by genotyping for exactly finding out the type of HPV. This genotyping could be done by several methods. Some of the methods of genotyping are

  1. Line Probe Assay
  2. Assay based on Melting Temperature
  3. Using micro-arrays
  4. Hybrid Capture Test
  5. Multiplex PCR
All these methods have their own advantages and disadvantages. Among them, the multiplex PCR is found to be very effective.

Symptoms: Any visible tumors or lesions which remains uncured more than two or three weeks. Difficulty in chewing, swallowing etc., This might also be the symptoms of other problems, but, it is better to go and consult a doctor when you have these symptoms.

To avoid oral cancer, avoid alcohol, smoking and maintain good oral hygiene.

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