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HPV testing could prevent oral cancer

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

Though oral cancer was once thought to affect about six males for every female, the prevalence of the disease in women seems to be on the rise, researchers say.

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF), the ratio of individuals diagnosed with it has shrunk to two men for every woman over the past 10 years, CNN reports.

While researchers partially attribute the narrowed gap to an increase in the number of women who frequently smoke or drink, some believe that the human papillomavirus (HPV) may play a role.

Recent data from the OCF demonstrates that HPV may soon replace tobacco as the leading cause of the spread of oral cancer in people under the age of 50. The virus is transferred through sexual activity and can lay dormant for years, before triggering mouth sores related to oral cancer.

One oral cancer survivor told the news source, "The most important thing is I want women to be aware of [the disease] and make sure they don't ignore a sore in their mouth or pain."

She added, "It could be something, and it needs to be checked out. That checkup can save your life."

According to the OCF, oral cancer kills about one person every hour, and only half of patients survive for more than 5 years after their diagnosis.

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