When talking about sexually transmitted diseases, most of the time, genital warts and genital lesions are the first thing that comes to mind, while HPV, as the most common STD, is causing almost 15 percent of all cancers around the world. Although this virus’s effects can vary from no symptoms to warts and cancers, many people are unaware of it, and lack of knowledge about HPV related cancers has cost lives. Fortunately, with the help of media and the spreading of the HPV vaccine around the globe, the knowledge about the virus and its impacts is increasing; this means countless lives can be saved. Therefore, we needed to indicate an article about HPV related cancers to help you protect yourself and your family against this dangerous and incurable infection; the following contains what is needed to get to know some of HPV related cancers.
Generally, HPV can cause vulvar, vaginal, and cervical cancers in women and penile cancers in men. It also causes oropharyngeal (back of the throat) and anal cancers in both men and women. Although consuming tobacco or smoking cigarettes as well as alcohol can cause oropharyngeal cancer, recent studies show that about 60 percent of this cancer is caused by Human Papillomavirus. However, it takes about 10 to 20 years and even sometimes longer, like 30 years, for the HPV virus to become cancer. Plus, about 10 percent of HPV cases will cause cancer; therefore, getting an HPV infection does not necessarily mean getting cancer. Yet, studies suggest that the disease itself will infect almost everyone in their life. Hence, the risk of getting HPV cancers such as anal, penile, and cervical cancers exist and can cause considerable problems for people’s health and lives.
The Most Common HPV Cancer
In short, cervical cancer is the most common HPV related among women, and oropharyngeal cancer is the most common HPV related cancer among men. In other words, studies and research on this era show that almost every cervical cancer among women is caused by Human Papillomavirus, especially its 16 and 18 strains are responsible for this cancer; still, in some cases, these strains do not show any symptoms. Hence, we can say that even though HPV is transmitted through any sexual contact and will infect both females and males, women are at a high risk of getting HPV related cancers since cervical cancer caused by this virus is the fourth most common cancer around the world. Note that this disease is not very common among women who are older than 30, but if it infects them, the chances of developing cervical cancer are higher. Additionally, this virus and its common cancer will not cause infertility directly but indirectly through some related treatments, it is possible. Yet, to look on the bright side, the chances of curing HPV related cancers, especially the cervix, is about 80 to 90 percent, which is a very high possibility. Besides, some effective ways, which we will mention afterward, can prevent HPV related cancers and warts too.
There are more than 150 and about 200 strains of HPV, most of which go away on their own after approximately 2 or 3 years of infections, while some of them may cause serious problems, including HPV related cancers. Among all of the different types, HPV 6 and HPV 11 are two of the most common ones, which can cause warts, and HPV 16 and HPV 18 are two other common ones and can cause cancer with the addition of HPV 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 66, and 68, all of which are HPV cancer strains. Therefore, about 50 percent of strains can cause cancer, yet, strains such as HPV 6 and 11 that cause genital warts are unlikely to develop into cancer. So, if you have HPV warts, you do not have to worry about HPV related cancers; however, it is best to treat these warts with the help of a healthcare provider or doctor.
How Does It Happen
Simply put, HPV causes the body’s cells to go through some changes, which may cause cancer after a while. For example, when cancer strains such as HPV 16 and 18 infect the cells, they will not be able to communicate with each other as before; thus, if the infected person does not take treatments, they will multiply in the body, causing the inability of the immune system to destroy the disease and eventually causing cancer. Accordingly, the best way to avoid all of these problems and harm is to get HPV tests and regular screening along with prevention methods. Even if you got the virus anyway, especially the HPV related cancers, it is crucial to act on time in order to take treatments and prevent it from developing.
Generally, 3 percent of women and 2 percent of men cancers are HPV related cancers, that is in the United States alone and is more common among younger people. Every year this virus causes about 40,000 cancer cases; moreover, numbers are different when it comes to studying Human Papillomavirus associated cancers separately:
- Cervical cancer: Almost all cervical cancers, more than 95 percent, happen because of HPV.
- Oropharyngeal cancer: Human Papillomavirus can harm the mouth and throat and cause oropharyngeal cancer, 70 percent of which is because of this STD. For example, around 15,000 people get this cancer in the U.S. alone.
- Penile cancer: About 60 percent of all penile cancers occur due to HPV infection.
- Anal cancer: About 90 percent of anal cancers, which happens in both men and women, are caused by Human Papillomavirus.
- Vaginal and vulvar cancer: 70 percent of vaginal and vulvar cancers occur due to not taking precautions and becoming infected by the HPV virus.
HPV can spread very easily through sexual contact and endanger the infected person’s life or health: besides, since HPV related cancers, particularly cervical cancer, are somehow common and dangerous, it is necessary to take precautions and be aware of the prevention ways.
HPV and other sexually transmitted infections like Herpes can easily transmit from the infected person’s body through oral, anal, and vaginal sex to their partners if not using protection. Thus, using condoms during sex is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and your spouse or sexual partner against this infection and its associated cancers. Yet, even though using condoms may be effective as a way of prevention, it has its problems; for example, some people are allergic to them, and some condoms may leak or break. As a result, despite being useful and preventive for most people, condoms are not the only and the best prevention against the HPV virus.
According to doctors and healthcare providers, HPV vaccines which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves, are the best ways to protect yourself and others against this infection. These vaccines, including Gardasil, Gardasil 9, and Cervarix, are more than 90 percent effective in providing immunity against HPV 16 and HPV 18, both of which can cause HPV related cancers. This vaccination works best at young ages, around 11-12 years old, although vaccination can start at the age of 9. Therefore, parents who care about their children’s health should gather enough information about the role of the HPV vaccine in global health and, by vaccinating their preteens, protect their health and wellness against HPV related cancers. However, even though some healthcare industries and health insurances help to reduce the cost of vaccination, high prices have been an important problem in the way of a healthy life and stopping the prevalence of the infection, especially for underdeveloped and developing countries. This explains why some companies like Opal BioPharma produce biosimilar vaccines with the same quality but at lower prices. Thus, this leads us to a better and healthier world where everyone can get vaccinated and protect themselves against HPV related cancers.
HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that every year infects a considerable number of people around the globe, some of whom will not even notice at first due to lack of symptoms. Moreover, this will not stop the virus from developing HPV related cancers, which include cervical, penile, oropharyngeal, anal, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. Among all these different types of cancers, cervical cancer in women and oropharyngeal cancer in men are the most common ones, and Human Papillomavirus causes 95 percent of cervical and 70 percent of oropharyngeal cancer cases. This happens when HPV infects the body cells and changes them so they cannot communicate with one another; therefore, if this continues without treatments, they will eventually develop HPV related cancer. Fortunately, people can prevent this and provide immunity for themselves and others in effective ways, such as using condoms, regular screening, and, more importantly, getting HPV vaccines which are more than 90 percent effective in preventing cancers. And lastly, biosimilar vaccines with affordable prices and high availability for everyone are the best option to provide immunity against HPV associated cancers.