Risk Factors for Cancer
The Cancer Center focuses on three primary behaviors or conditions that may result in getting cancer: tobacco, obesity, and human papilloma virus.
HPV is a common sexually transmitted disease that causes specific cancers in men and women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of 33,369 HPV-associated cancers are diagnosed annually in the U.S. An estimated 80% of American adults harbor the virus, which can also cause pre-cancers and genital warts.
The HPV-related cancers include:
While almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV, two types, HPV type 16 and HPV type 18, account for more than 70% of women's cervical cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Cervical cancer is preventable and, if detected early, is highly curable. Regular cervical screening tests provided by a healthcare provider include a Pap Test (Pap smear) designed to detect cell changes. The Pap test is recommended for females beginning at ages 21-65 years of age. A HPV test looks for human papillomavirus cells and is recommended for women 30 years of age and older.
Head and Neck Cancer
HPV is responsible for the growing number of head and neck cancers in the U.S. Research published by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) implicates HPV as the main cause of 80% of cancers located in the tonsils and at the base of the tongue, affecting head and neck squamous cells. These cancers are referred to as "oropharyngeal cancers."
The HPV vaccine is highly effective in preventing HPV. The ideal age for the HPV vaccine for boys and girls ages 11-12 years of age. However, the HPV vaccine time frame extends to ages 9-12 years for males and 9-26 years of age for females.
The HPV vaccine is available through primary care providers, community health clinics, and area health departments. University students can check with their student health clinics about the availability of the vaccine.
Georgia Cancer Center Resources
The Georgia Cancer Center provides a gynecological or GYN Cancer Prevention Program which serves women with abnormal Pap results.
HPV Information Resources
- Cervical Cancer Information and Care - Georgia Cancer Center
- HPV and Cancer Fact Sheet
- HPV and Oropharyngeal Cancer
- Oral Cancer: The Facts - Oral Cancer Foundation
- Reduce Genital HPV Infection Fact Sheet
- HPV Vaccine - Questions & Answers