In the 1950’s a group of scientists from different countries identified a virus called Human Papillomavirus which is now more commonly known as HPV. However the strains of this virus were discovered during the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Now, years later with the help of dermatologists, HPV has been linked to many types of cancers. Although this virus can lead to cancer, there are two vaccines available to help prevent contracting this sexually transmitted infection.
A recent interview with Michael Douglas made HPV the topic of conversation worldwide. During the interview he revealed that his throat cancer was caused by HPV. He says that the infection was a result of having oral sex with an HPV-infected woman.
In reference to the American Cancer Society an estimated 75 percent of cancers in both men and women are caused by HPV.
Low-Risk HPV Types vs. High-Risk HPV Types
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention there are more than 40 types of HPV. Some are considered Low-Risk while others are considered High-Risk.
Low-Risk HPV can cause warts around the genitals and anus on both men and women, however for women these warts can also appear on the cervix and the vagina. Warts are called Low-Risk because they very rarely grow into cancer.
Other types of HPV have been linked with certain types of cancer in both men and women; these are called High-Risk HPV.
HPV Vaccines for Men and Women
Since the interview with Michael Douglas, the question should the HPV vaccine be advertised for men has created conversation among experts.
According the American Cancer Society the HPV infection is found in about half of all penile cancers. The American Cancer Society also reports that HPV is similarly an element in some throat cancers in both men and women.
Scientists recommend boys ages 11 and 12, and men through age 26 receive the Gardasil vaccine, although there can be complications.
Cervarix is another vaccine for women to help protect them from contacting the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancer. HPV vaccines are given in three shots over six months. For the best protection it is recommended to get all three doses.
For more information on vaccines and HPV testing please consult with your primary doctor.
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