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Which cancers are caused by human papillomavirus or HPV?

Not just cervical cancer, HPV can cause some other deadly cancers too.

Written by Debjani Arora |Updated : March 6, 2018 10:16 AM IST

Human papillomavirus or HPV is a sexually transmitted virus and one of the leading causes of cervical cancer in women. HPV is a group of more than 200 viruses and among them, at least 40 types of HPV can be spread by skin-to-skin contact. They can spread through sexual intercourse or from the skin and mucous membrane of the infected person to that of the partner. In a layman s view, HPV causes cervical cancer, but the potent strains of the virus are not just restricted to mess up with the cells of the cervix. In fact, even men are affected by the HPV infection. Of course, male victims of HPV aren t very high in numbers. The major burden that we are facing in India is the increasing number of women suffering from cervical cancers due to HPV infection, says Dr Bellarmine, medical oncologist, Fotis Malar Hospital, Chennai. Here are few unusual causes of cervical cancer that you should know.

However, apart from cervical cancer, the HPV can cause other types of cancers too. Here Dr Bellarmine tells us about the different kinds of cancer that can be caused by the HPV.

Cervical cancer: All genital infections caused due to HPV doesn t necessarily lead to cancer, some can give rise to genital warts or lesions. But the potent strains of HPV, namely HPV-16 and HPV-18 are responsible for almost 70 percent of cervical cancers in women. Smoking increases the risk of cancer if one is already infected with HPV. Here are few unusual signs of cervical cancer.

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Vulvar cancer: Apart from cervical cancer, in women HPV infection also increases the chances of suffering from vulvar cancer. In fact, 65 percent of this cancer is caused due to the HPV-16 stain. Since it transmitted sexually, women having multiple sexual partners are more at risk of developing vaginal cancer (affecting both the vulva and the vagina) due to HPV infection.

Anal cancer: In men, about 65 percent of them suffer from anal cancer due to an HPV infection. The HPV-16 stain is responsible for this cancer. The chances of men suffering from anal cancer due to HPV infection increases if they indulge in same-sex practices.

Penile cancer: Almost 35 percent of men suffering from penile cancer can get it due to an HPV infection. The potent HPV-16 strain is generally thought to be a reason for the same. Again same-sex practices are thought to be a culprit in this case. However, in India, number of men suffering from penile or anal cancer due to HPV infection is less compared to the numbers from the west. Here are few factors that increase the risk of penile fractures.

Head and neck cancer: Many people think that since the HPV infection is a sexually transmitted infection its wrath might be limited to the genital regions only. Turns out that it is not true. People affected with HPV can also suffer from head and neck cancer, precisely oropharyngeal cancer. HPV infection could give rise to cancer in the middle part of the throat, including the soft palate, at the base of the tongue and tonsils. Around 70 percent of this cancer is caused due to HPV. People who indulge in oral sex are prone to suffer from head and neck cancer due to HPV infection.

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