Global Cancer News

HPV and cancer: 9 myths busted

Although the human papillomavirus (HPV) is quite common, the facts surrounding it can be confusing.

Who can get HPV? How do they get it? Can it be treated? How safe and effective is the HPV vaccine?

These and other questions have led to misinformation among men, women and parents trying to make decisions about the HPV vaccine for their children.

With several strains of HPV linked to cancer, MD Anderson experts — Lois Ramondetta, M.D., professor in Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine, and Erich Sturgis, M.D., professor in Head and Neck Surgery and Epidemiology — help dispel some common HPV myths.

“Many HPV-related cancers can be prevented if people know the truth,” Sturgis says.

Myth #1: Only women can get HPV.

Myth #2: People with HPV show symptoms.

Myth #3: You must have sexual intercourse to get HPV.

Myth #4: There are treatments for HPV.

Myth #5: HPV interferes with pregnancy.

Myth #6: The HPV vaccine protects you for life.

Myth #7: The HPV vaccine causes teens and preteens to become sexually active.

Myth #8: The HPV vaccine may cause medical problems.

Myth #9: You got the HPV vaccine, so you can skip your Pap test.

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