Q:

Can HPV cause throat cancer?

A:

Quick Answer

HPV, or human papillomavirus, can cause oropharyngeal cancer, which is a cancer found in the back of the throat, generally in the tonsils or base of the tongue, according to the Centers for Disease Control. HPV that causes this type of cancer is referred to as high-risk oral HPV.

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Full Answer

After initial infection with HPV, it can take many years for cancer to develop. Whether or not other factors, such as chewing tobacco or smoking, must be present to cause HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer is not clear as of 2014, according to the CDC. Of the 7 percent of people in the United States infected with oral HPV, only 1 percent have the high-risk type that causes oropharyngeal cancer.

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