Oral HPV

HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is on of the most common sexually transmitted diseases.  It is estimated that over 20 million Americans are currently infected.  HPV is also a causative factor in the development of oral and throat cancers.  In fact, roughly 25% of individuals diagnosed with oral cancer are not smokers, tobacco users or heavy drinkers-they have HPV. Knowing the results of an HPV test can help us determine if a patient is at increased risk.  Contrary to belief, HPV cannot be seen and there are no outward symptoms.  A medical test is the only way to truly know if you are infected. 

An HPV positive result does not mean a patient has cancer or will get cancer.  It does mean, however, you are at increased risk to develop potential cancerous changes.  There are over 40 HPV viruses, some being much more aggressive than others.  a positive result can help us to closely monitor the oral cavity for any changes.  If needed, a collection of cells may be obtained from the oral cavity to be reviewed by a pathologist to identify any potential a typical behavior.


Collection Protocol:

ThinPrep® -Liquid Medium

Anal Cytology


1.   Using eiher a swab or brush, swab the (1) buccal gutters, bilaterally, (2) both Cheek Mucosas, and (3) both peritonsillar pillars, (4) tonsils and pharynx.

2.  Place the swab immediately into the ThinPrep fluid, breaking off the handle. If using a gynemed brush, open and close the cannula over the brush several times while submerged in the vial liquid.

3.  Cap the vial, label with the patient’s name and send to the laboratory immediately with a completed requisition form.


Oral Collection Video:

 WCPL Oral Cytology Collection Animation (QuickTime Video Format)

Video references for Oral HPV:

Note: West Coast Pathology Laboratory did not produce these and does not own the copyrights of these video clips and these are provided just to create patient awareness. These are public accessible videos on YouTube.com or Vimeo.com.