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Human Papillomavirus

About the Program
The Mount Sinai Medical Center and ENT and Allergy Associates have once again joined together, this time to raise awareness of HPV-derived head and neck cancer.

What is Human Papillomavirus (HPV)?
There are more than 100 different types of human papillomavirus. The most common types are found on the skin and appear as warts seen on the hand. HPV can also infect the genital areas of males and females. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), genital HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. There are at least 40 HPV types that can affect the genital areas. Some of these are low-risk and cause genital warts while high-risk types can cause cervical or other types of genital cancer. The high-risk HPV types may also cause oral cancer, also called oropharyngeal cancer, which is becoming more prevalent.

Who is at risk for HPV infection and oral cancer?
HPV is a sexually transmitted infection and the number of lifetime sexual partners is an important risk factor for the development of HPV-positive oral cancer. Research has shown that:

  • The odds of HPV-positive oral cancer doubled in individuals who reported between one and five lifetime oral sexual partners.
  • The risk increased five-fold in those patients with six or more oral sexual partners compared with those who have not had oral sex.

It is important to know that HPV-positive oral cancer has also been reported in individuals who report few or no sexual partners. Other traditional risk factors include history of tobacco or alcohol use, history of oral lesions, family history of thyroid cancer, and history of radiation therapy.

Why is HPV-positive oral cancer becoming more prevalent?
The epidemiology of oral HPV infection is not well understood. However, HPV has long been known to be present in the genital area and to be a significant cause of cervical, vulvar, penile, and anogenital cancer. It is believed that an increased number of people are engaging in oral sex practices and as a result are contracting HPV in the head and neck region, resulting in a higher rate of oral cancers.

Should I get vaccinated?
All cases of cervical cancer are derived from HPV. Two vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, have been developed to protect against HPV infection. The vaccine is FDA-approved for females ages nine-26, and administered in three doses over a six-month period. Gardasil is also FDA-approved in males ages nine-26. To find out if you are an appropriate candidate for vaccination, speak with your physician.

What are the symptoms of HPV-positive oral cancer?
Symptoms include hoarseness, pain or difficulty swallowing, pain while chewing, a lump in the neck, or non-healing sores on the neck. If you have any of these symptoms, speak with your doctor or visit to schedule an appointment with an ENT and Allergy Associates specialist.

How does one get screened for HPV-related head and neck cancer?
A thin flexible instrument, the size of a piece of spaghetti, that has a miniature camera at its tip, is placed into the numbed up nose and then into the top of the throat. In this way, the areas where HPV-related head and neck cancers may be found are thoroughly examined.

Where should I go if I want to learn more about HPV-positive oral cancer?
If you would like to learn more or think you or a loved one may be at risk, visit to set up a consultation.

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center
The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses both The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Established in 1968, Mount Sinai School of Medicine is one of few medical schools embedded in a hospital in the United States. It has more than 3,400 faculty in 32 departments and 15 institutes, and ranks among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institute of Health funding and by U.S. News & World Report. The Mount Sinai Hospital, founded in 1852, is a 1,171-bed tertiary- and quaternary-care teaching facility and one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks The Mount Sinai Hospital among the nation’s best hospitals based on reputation, patient safety, and other patient-care factors. Nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients last year, and approximately 530,000 outpatient visits took place.

About ENT and Allergy Associates
ENT and Allergy Associates, LLP is the largest and most comprehensive Ear, Nose, Throat and Allergy practice in the United States. We are a team of over 125 dedicated physicians with 38 offices, serving patients in Westchester, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, Rockland and Nassau counties in New York, New York City (NYC-Manhattan) and Somerset, Morris, Bergen, Hudson and Passaic Counties in New Jersey. We offer the convenience of a large group practice, with multiple office sites, evening and weekend hours and prompt appointment scheduling.

How to Begin
Patients: please ask the front office staff at your local ENT and Allergy Associates for information about HPV screening, or visit to access more information about the program and how to schedule an appointment.

Practitioners: please call us to refer a patient to our program, and visit us on the web at to find the nearest screening center.

The Mount Sinai Medical Center Department of Otolaryngology

Practice Locations:

Mount Sinai Medical Center
5 East 98th Street, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10029

The Derald H. Ruttenberg
Treatment Center
1190 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10029

Telephone: 212-241-9410
Fax: 212-996-9097