Published: Fri, April 07, 2017
Health Care | By Kelly Miles

Cancer-causing Human Papillomavirus (HPV) affects 23% of USA adults

Cancer-causing Human Papillomavirus (HPV) affects 23% of USA adults

Cervical cancer is the most common HPV-associated cancer among women, while cancers of the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsil, are the most common among men. Fourteen of these HPV types are known as high-risk strains because they are linked with an increased risk of certain cancers, including cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, anus, penis and throat. Many physicians are also reluctant about discussing the need for the vaccine, and for many parents, the vaccine's cancer-prevention benefits were overshadowed by concerns about discussing sexual matters with such young kids.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually-transmitted disease in the USA, with approximately 80 million people now infected.

"Carrageenans in a lubricant is a totally new approach to prevent HPV infection in those of any age", says Einstein.

There are 37 strains of the virus, 14 of which are considered high risk due to their ability to cause cancers of the genital area and throat.

To estimate the prevalence of HPV infection among USA adults aged 18 to 59, the researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2011 to 2014.

Approximately 28,000 cases of cancer caused by HPV are diagnosed annually - most of which would have preventable with the vaccine, the CDC says.

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Often, the cancer does not develop until years after a patient was infected with HPV.

Although the HPV vaccine prevents about 70 percent of all cervical cancers, too few girls and boys are getting it, McQuillan said. Because HPV is a sexually transmitted infection, finding protection from a topical product used during sexual activity is a logical approach. "They're not getting the one vaccine that protects against diseases from which they're most likely to suffer and die", Offit said, noting that deaths from pertussis and meningococcal disease, for which adolescents are also vaccinated at that age, are minuscule compared with HPV-related cancers. The gap between cases among men and women was significant: 11.5 percent of men had oral HPV, compared to 3.3 percent of women.

Additionally, researchers found that Asian adults had the lowest rates of infection while African-Americans had the highest.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two HPV vaccines namely Cervarix and Gardasil.

This work, funded by the Scottish Government, is part of public health work in Scotland looking at the effect of the vaccine on levels of cervical lesions and cancer-related cell abnormalities. For example, in Australia and the United Kingdom (including Scottland who presented the dramatic HPV rate drops), the vaccine was introduced as a cancer vaccine, which Paskett says, is what it really is.

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