Mouth cancer: beware of HPV, smoking and alcohol

LHPVthe human papilloma virus, not only causes me cervical cancers. Far from it: when the virus is present, especially some strains such as HPV16, the risk increases dYo develop oral cavity tumors, pharynx and larynx. But be careful not to think that the virus is the only risk factor: the consumption of alcohol and tobacco are no less so and contribute enormously to the increase in new cases. Eliminating them could significantly reduce them.

The numbers

In Italy, estimates from the Association of Cancer Registries and AIOM are merged oral cavity tumors to those of the pharynx and larynx, and indicate approx. 9,900 new diagnoses and 4,100 deaths in 2020.

In the world, cancers of the mouth and lips occupy the sixteenth place by incidence and mortality; they hit men especially in areas such as Southeast Asia and the western Pacific, intertwined with the habit of chewing tobacco me betel nut, or areca nuts. According to the report IARC Cancer Prevention Manuals About 2 percent of oral cancers worldwide are due topapilloma virus infectionespecially to the stump HPV16.

cigarette paper

But the remaining cases are mainly due to remediable factors. An example is smoking: in those who stop smoking, the risk of oral cavity cancer decreases the longer the abstinence from cigarettes, cigars and the like is prolonged. For who quit smoking after twenty years the risk becomes equal to that of a non-smoker, but already after 4 years the chances drop by 35 percent, compared to a smoker.

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The role of alcohol

The other is alcohol: stop drinking helps reduce the chances of develop mouth cancer. Among the different data analyzed, all consistent in detecting a direct association between alcohol consumption and the incidence of this type of cancer, the 43 percent reduction in risk in a heavy drinker (at least three drinks a day) who quit to do it 20 years against a current drinker.


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