There are over 150 types of human papillomavirus (HPV), and some of them can cause various cancers. HPV-16 is one of the strains associated with this growing risk. There are often no signs or symptoms present with HPV, and individuals unknowingly pass it to others as a result. Here are the what, where, why, and risks of HPV-16.
What is HPV?:
HPV is a group of viral infections that can cause wart-like growths (lesions) on the skin or mucus membranes. It spreads through skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual or sexually. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. The immune system fights off many infections before warts or other issues develop. In other cases, the virus persists, and warts appear on the genitals, anus, or other body areas, depending on the strain. Some infections can lead to the growth of warts in the mouth and upper respiratory airways.
HPV-16 and Risk of Cancer
Almost every person will have HPV at some point in their lives, which is a testament to its prevalence. 14 HPV strains are considered higher risk because they are associated with the development of cancers. These types infect the skin cells and can cause them to change from normal to abnormal. However, not all high-risk strain infections will progress to cancer.
HPV-16 is one of the top causes of invasive cervical cancers and accounts for 60% of all throat cancers. HPV-16 is six times more common in men than women between the ages of 18 to 69. There is also a strong association between 16 and anal cancer. In some pregnant women with HPV, the virus can pass to the baby during the delivery. Though unlikely, warts can develop on the baby’s vocal cords, causing recurrent respiratory papillomatosis.
Breaking Down the Path of HPV-Related Cancers
Thanks to the efforts of researchers and trial participants, the first vaccine for HPV was approved in 2006. It protects against the top cancer-causing HPV types and genital warts. An estimated 79 million Americans are infected with HPV today. This is one reason driving continued efforts to explore potential new options for those already living with it.
Cedar Health Research is looking for participants to join enrolling research studies for those with HPV. To find out if this may be an option for you, call (214) 53-8170, or visit our website to learn more!