It has now been established that the path that brings people to oral cancer contains at least two distinct etiologies; one through tobacco and alcohol and another via the HPV virus infection, particularly version 16.
If detected at an early stage, survival from oral cancer is better than 90% at 5 years, whereas late stage disease survival is only 30%.
About 50 to 70% of patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage depending on the countries.
An increase of oral infected HPV patient has been observed in the past 20 years.
In general it appears that HPV positive tumors occur most frequently in a younger group of individuals than tobacco related malignancies. (Tobacco oral cancers occur most frequently in the 5th through the 7th decade of life). HPV positive tumor also occur more in white males, and in non smokers.