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Oral Cancer

Is it Possible to Get Oral Cancer from a Person with HPV?

09/15/2008

Question:

My husband and I have been together five years. I recently found out I have HPV along with cervical dsyplsia. I practiced abstinence six years before. Did I get HPV from him? Once I have the LEEP procdure, will we be cleared? We have been practicing oral sex since we got together. Can we continue or should we stop? Can we get oral cancer?

Answer:

Realize that HPV is encountered by greater than 50% of sexually active individuals. It is fruitless to try and determine who gave what to whom. The LEEP (large loop excision procedure) of the cervix will treat any abnormal cells of the cervix. It does not treat the virus. At present, there are no antivirals available to treat the virus specifically. Your own immune system will help you clear the virus with time. You have shared the same HPV type and will not be "reinfected" by your husband. You certainly can develop an infection if a new exposure occurs. The information regarding oral cancer is less clear. I do not believe that you need to be overly concerned about the risk of oral cancer due to your history of cervical disease. I would recommend that you not smoke and that you see a dentist for oral care every six to twelve months.

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Response by:

Deborah A Bartholomew, MD Deborah A Bartholomew, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University