Find out what type of HPV causes what type of cancer


Long lasting high-risk HPV infections in areas of the body where HPV can infect cells, such as the cervix, oropharynx (the portion of the throat behind the oral cavity that also includes the back third of the tongue, the side and back walls of the throat, and the tonsils), anus, penis, vagina, and vulva can result in cancer.

Squamous cells that cover the inner surfaces of these organs are infected by HPV. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of cancer associated with HPV because of this. Adenocarcinomas, which are a kind of cervical cancer, are caused by HPV infection of gland cells in the cervix.

By the completion of this article, you will understand the different types of cancers that are caused due to HPV infection and how you can protect yourself from acquiring the HPV infection in the first place.

How does HPV spread?

A sexual partner can easily transmit HPV to another. Any intimate skin-to-skin contact, including vaginal-penile intercourse, penile-anal sex, vaginal-oral sex, and the use of sex toys or other devices, might spread the virus. Between sexual partners, the virus is easily transmitted. Although they cannot totally prevent HPV transmission, condoms and dental dams can reduce the likelihood of infection.

How does HPV cause cancer?

When high-risk HPV infects cells, it obstructs the methods by which these cells communicate with one another, leading to excessive cell proliferation. The immune system typically recognises and suppresses these contaminated cells. But occasionally, the infected cells survive and grow more, eventually assembling into a mass of precancerous cells that, if left untreated, can turn cancerous. According to studies, HPV-infected cervical cells can take anywhere between 10 and 20 years—or even longer—to develop into a malignant tumour.

There are various factors that raise the likelihood that a woman’s high-risk HPV infection may persist and result in precancerous cervical cells. Some of them are as follows:

  • Having an HPV type that is particularly aggressive, such as HPV 16 or HPV 18. Make sure you get diagnostic testing along with a colposcopy if you have one of these HPV kinds.
  • Smoking tobacco: Giving up smoking can aid your body’s defence against HPV.
  • A compromised immune system: Ask your doctor about diagnostic testing and follow-up if you have HIV or are using medications that suppress your immune system.

Different types of cancers caused by HPV

  • Cervical cancer: HPV is almost always the root cause of cervical cancer. The majority of cervical cancers can be avoided with routine screening because it enables medical professionals to identify and remove precancerous cells before they transform into cancer.
  • Oropharyngeal cancers: The majority of these cancers, which appear in the throat (often the tonsils or the tongue’s back), are brought on by HPV. Every year, the number of cases keeps on increasing.
  • Anal cancer: HPV is the primary cause of over 90% of anal cancers. Each year, there are new cases of anal cancer and more fatalities from it. Women are estimated twice as likely as males to have anal cancer.
  • Penile Cancer: Over 60% of cases of penile cancer are brought on by HPV.
  • Vaginal cancer: HPV is responsible for 75% of all cases of vaginal cancer.
  • Vulvar Cancer: About 70% of vulvar cancers in women are caused by HPV.

Symptoms of the different types of cancers caused by HPV

Cervical Cancer

  • Vaginal bleeding post menstruation, in between periods, or following menopause
  • Pelvic pain or during sexual activity
  • watery, bloody, maybe heavy, and foul-smelling vaginal discharge

Vulvar Cancer

  • persistent scratching
  • Pain and sensitivity
  • bleeding that isn’t related to your period
  • Skin changes in terms of thickness and/or colour
  • an open sore, a lump, or pimples that resemble warts

Vaginal cancer

  • painful urination
  • Constipation and frequent urination
  • pelvic pain
  • unexpected vaginal bleeding
  • unexpected vaginal bleeding

Oropharyngeal Cancer

  • long-lasting earaches
  • hoarseness
  • swelling of the lymph nodes
  • discomfort during swallowing
  •  unexplained weight loss

Anal cancer

  • bleeding coming from the rectum or anus
  • Pain in the anus area
  • A mass in the anal canal
  • Anal scratching

HPV Vaccine – Prevention against HPV Infection

The two low-risk HPV types that most frequently result in genital warts, as well as the seven high-risk HPV types that most frequently result in HPV-related cancers, are among the nine HPV types against which the HPV vaccine offers protection.

Strong protection against future HPV infections is provided by HPV vaccination. The purpose of vaccination is to prevent disease; it does not treat an existing infection. Therefore, treatment for HPV infections or diseases brought on by HPV does not include the HPV vaccine. Up to 90% of cancers linked to HPV are estimated to be prevented by HPV vaccination. Your doctor can help you choose the vaccine that is right for you.

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