I have a recurring lesion on my tongue, and I am worried if it is HPV. Please help.

Q. How to identify if a recurring lesion on the tongue is HPV or oral cancer?

Answered by
Dr. Utkarsh Sharma
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 19, 2022 and last reviewed on: Aug 08, 2023

Hi doctor,

About four years ago, I developed a lesion on the top of my tongue. It was almost a wart-like cluster resemblance. It went away after two weeks. A year passed, and I developed another growth in the same spot that, again, went away after two weeks. I was clear for about two years, and then it came back again, and I only ever experience an outbreak when I get very sick (but not every time). The lesion does not hurt, nor is it itchy. I am currently experiencing this issue, and I have a sore throat and earache only on my right side (the throat and ear have been persistent for about a day or two). This growth has been persistent for one week now. I am worried that I have oral HPV or oral cancer. I am taking no other medications except Advil. Please help.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

I understand your concern. I have seen the attached images (attachment removed to protect patient's identity). These appear to be tongue warts or likely a squamous papilloma. Yes, around 50 percent of such cases are documented to be associated with HPV (human papillomavirus) 6,11 strains. During phases of a weakened immune system (in your case, during infections), you get them recurrently. Since warts are contagious, the only way to prevent contracting or transmitting warts and other HPV infections to your partner is to abstain from intimate and sexual activities. The wart on your tongue will not usually require treatment. It should resolve on its own as it did earlier. You should also consider receiving the HPV vaccine. To conclude, I would say that The squamous papilloma is harmless and rarely transforms into a malignant lesion. You should protect your partner from possible HPV infection. Vaccines can protect you from HPV strains. These warts should go away on their own. You work on strengthening your immune system. If they still keep coming back or grow larger, it is best to get a biopsy done. I hope this helped. Take care. Thanks and regards.

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