Document Type



There are over 100 different types of Human Papillomavirus, also known as HPV4. It is a group of DNA viruses that can infect various parts of the body by changing normal cells into abnormal cells. HPV types are divided into high-risk and low-risk types. HPV types that are considered high-risk types have the potential to cause cancer. The low-risk HPV types may cause visible cell abnormalities, like skin warts. It is approximated that 20 million Americans are currently infected with some strain of Human Papillomavirus and another 6.2 million people are newly infected each year5. Oral squamous cell carcinomas develop from the mucosa of the oral cavity and oropharynx, and affect approximately 30,000 Americans per year9. The two main causative agents are smoking (especially more than two packs a day) and alcohol consumption. Interestingly enough, the role of high-risk HPV in the pathogenesis of these squamous cell carcinomas has been under investigation for several years now, and has recently become one of the leading causes of oral cancer, particularly in men9. The purpose of this paper is to review multiple literary sources on the epidemiologic relationship between Human Papillomavirus infection and oral squamous cell carcinomas. The significance of this association is that high-risk HPV strains are now one of the leading causative agents of oral squamous cell carcinomas. This shows that smoking and alcohol are not the only causative agents of oral cancers, and also introduces oral cancer as the first cancer associated with HPV infection that is not located in the genital area, but may be transmitted by sexual contact.

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International Journal of Global Health and Health Disparities





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©2009 International Journal of Global Health and Health Disparities



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