Although the human papillomavirus (HPV) is quite common, there is still a lot of confusion when it comes to the facts. But in order to protect your health – and those you love – it’s important to break through the myths you may have heard about HPV. Here are five common HPV myths and the truth about them.
HPV Myth #1: Only women can get it.
Truth: HPV is a very common virus among both women and men. An estimated 80% of sexually active people will contract it at some point in their lives.
HPVs (human papillomaviruses) are a group of common viruses for which some are easily sexually transmitted. Several of these viruses cause genital warts while the high-risk HPV types are responsible for the majority of HPV caused cancers.
The National Cancer Institute reports that HPV infects epithelial cells, which cover the inside and outside surfaces of the body, including the skin, the throat, the genital tract, and the anus. HPV related cancers include cervical cancer, vulva cancer, vaginal cancer, penile cancer, anal cancer as well as cancer in the back of the throat including the base of the tongue and tonsils.
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, a time set aside to increase awareness of the disease and the importance of screening as a prevention strategy. Arizona Oncology reminds all women to speak with their healthcare providers about being screened for cervical cancer.
In the United States, approximately 12,900 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 4,100 women will die from the disease this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Today, however, invasive cervical cancer is highly preventable. According to the National Cancer Institute, the key to preventing death from cervical cancer is regular screening to detect abnormalities in the cells of the cervix early, before they become cancerous.