According to Mayo Clinic, the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) is linked to cervical cancer in women. HPV infection can also increase the risk of cancer in men.
Katherine Trujillo Useche
Latin Agency for Medicine and Public Health News
The specific risks are different for men. HPV infection is very common, but it does not usually cause any signs or symptoms in either sex. However, some types of HPV cause genital warts.
Often times, the body’s immune system clears the virus without treatment within about two years, but until the virus is gone, you can pass it on to your sexual partners.
Certain types of HPV, known as high-risk types, can cause a persistent infection. These infections are the ones that can gradually turn into cancer. HPV can cause cancer of the vulva, vagina, cervix, penis, anus, the back of the mouth, and the upper part of the throat.
Men who have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and men who have sex with other men have an increased risk of anal, penile, and throat cancer in relation to HPV infection. Oropharyngeal cancers have recently increased, particularly in men.
Men can prevent the types of HPV that cause most genital warts and anal cancer by getting an HPV vaccine. HPV vaccines were originally approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a cervical cancer vaccine for girls and young women and are now approved for the prevention of anal, vulvar, and vaginal cancer as well.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the routine human papillomavirus vaccine for girls and boys ages 11 and 12, although it can be started from the age of 9. The vaccine has also been recommended for adolescents, men and women up to age 26, the vaccine was approved in the same way for men up to 45 years. The best time to get the vaccine is before sexual activity begins.
These vaccines are not yet approved to prevent HPV-related cancer of the penis and oropharynx, recent studies suggested that these vaccines could also be effective in preventing these types of cancers.
Are Children Protected Against Cancer Caused By HPV?
Preteens and teens need the HPV vaccine to prevent cancer related to the human papillomavirus.
The human papillomavirus is a very common virus. HPV spreads easily among teens and pre-teens, even through skin-to-skin contact. Most people are infected with HPV between 2 and 3 years after their first sexual intercourse.
Most of the time, the body naturally clears HPV, but each year in the United States, about 35,000 men and women get cancer caused by HPV and 4,000 women die each year from cancer of the cervix. Most of these cancers can be prevented with the HPV vaccine.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children receive 2 doses of the human papillomavirus vaccine at 11 or 12 years of age or 3 doses in their late teens if not given earlier.
Studies have shown that children who get all three doses of the HPV vaccine at the age of 14 have lower rates of pre-cervical cancer and genital warts than those who get vaccinated later. Preadolescents generate more antibodies from vaccines, which can be understood as better protection.
The HPV vaccine has an excellent safety record, more than 170 million doses have been distributed, and there have been no signs of concern about its safety. The vaccine continues to be monitored to ensure its safety in more than 80 countries around the world.