The human papilloma virus (HPV) is a double-stranded deoxyribonucleic acid virus that infects the epithelial cells of skin and mucosa.
The moist epithelial surfaces (squamous cells) include all areas covered by skin and/or mucosa such as the mouth’s interior, throat, tongue, tonsils, vagina, cervix, vulva, penis (the urethra – the opening), and anus.
Both oral cancers from HPV and those from tobacco and alcohol may be detected from the following:
- An ulcer or sore that does not heal within two to three weeks;
- A red, white, or black discoloration on the soft tissues in the mouth;
- Difficult or painful swallowing. A sensation that things are sticking in the throat when swallowing;
- A swollen but painless tonsil. When looking inside the mouth, tonsils on both sides should be symmetrical in size;
- Pain when chewing;
- A persistent sore throat or hoarse voice;
- A swelling or lump in the mouth;
- A painless lump felt on the outside of the neck, which has been there for at least two weeks;
- A numb feeling in the mouth or lips;
- Constant coughing;
- An earache on one side (unilateral), which persists for more than a few days.
Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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