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HPV and Cancer Risk

HPVHealth professionals are aware of the link between the human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer. But they may be less aware that HPV also causes other cancers including rare cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis, and anus. Evidence also indicates that it causes oropharyngeal cancers (those at the back of the tongue and the throat).

“HPV has a propensity to infect tissue that can then become cancerous,” says Dr. Stephanie Snow, a medical oncologist with the Capital Health Cancer Care Program.
Of the many strains of HPV, Dr. Snow says certain strains of HPV are of a higher risk for cancer than others. “For oropharyngeal cancers, the key culprit is HPV 16.”

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