Why are head and neck cancer patients checked for HPV? What’s the correlation ?

HPV can infect the mouth and throat and cause cancers of the oropharynx (back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils). This is known as oropharyngeal cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV is thought to cause approximately 70% of oropharyngeal cancers in the United States.

What are the side effects of the HPV vaccination?

Some people have no side effects at all, but these are some common side effects of the HPV vaccine:

-Pain, redness or swelling in the arm where the shot was given


-Dizziness or fainting

-Headache or feeling tired


-Muscle or joint pain

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Over 100 million doses of the HPV vaccine have been distributed since the vaccine was licensed, and data continue to show the vaccine is safe and effective.”

The CDC and the FDA continue to monitor the vaccines for unusual or severe problems.

Your doctor will make sure you don’t have any contraindications to the vaccine (ex- pregnancy or a history of an allergic reaction to the HPV vaccine.

How do you remove warts from the vagina?

If your warts are not causing discomfort, you may not need treatment. If your symptoms include itching, burning and pain, or if visible warts are causing emotional distress, your healthcare provider can help you clear an outbreak with medications or surgery. Some medications include Imiquimod, Trichloroacetic acid, Sinecatechins, Podophyllin and podofilox.

For larger warts, warts that do not respond to medication, or if you are pregnant and your doctor thinks that treatment is needed, surgery might be recommended. Surgical options include freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy), electrocautery, laser treatment, or surgical excision.

If males have a low risk of genital cancer, caused by HPV virus, what is the rational for vaccinating boys with Gardasil?

In males, exposure to the HPV virus can lead to genital warts, penile cancer, anal cancer, or cancers of the back of the throat (oropharyngeal cancer). Every year in the United States, over 13,000 men get cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).

The HPV vaccination could prevent most of these cancers from ever developing. The HPV vaccine also helps to protect males from genital warts.

Additionally, if a male doesn’t get HPV because they got the vaccine, then they won’t pass the virus to another person. That will help decrease the overall prevalence of HPV.

I was recently diagnosed with HPV when I went in for a Pap smear. My PCP stated my Pap smear was normal, it came back positive for HPV, but negative for genotype 16 and 18. My PCP stated it may go away. Should I be overly concerned?

According to the CDC, More than 90% of new HPV infections clear or become undetectable within 2 years, and clearance usually occurs in the first 6 months after infection.

Therefore, in most cases your body’s immune system defeats an HPV infection before it has an opportunity to cause pre-cancer or cancer of the cervix.

For the most part, women who get cervical cancer in the U.S. now either have not ever been screened, haven’t had a screening in the previous five years, or had an abnormal result on a screening test that was not followed up on.

So, follow up as instructed. Your doctor is waiting to see if your body will successfully defeat the virus. If your immune system does not suppress the virus, following up appropriately will increase the probability that your healthcare provider will catch an abnormality at an early (very treatable) stage.

Is HPV most commonly passed from men to women, since they can have it and not know it? especially if they have multiple partners?

Men and women should be equally cautious about getting/ giving HPV. While it is true that men usually don’t know that they have HPV, many women don’t know they have the virus either. Additionally, women who find out they have HPV during a routine pap smear typically don’t abstain from sex.

Even if a woman knows about her HPV and she uses condoms to help protect her partner(s), remember that the virus isn’t in secretions—it’s in the skin—so it can affect the parts of someone’s genitals that aren’t covered by a condom. Therefore, condoms may not fully protect you from HPV

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Almost every person who is sexually active will get HPV at some time in their life without HPV vaccination.”

You are correct: Whether you are a man or a woman, the more sexual partners you have, the more likely you are to contract a genital HPV infection. Having sex with a partner who has had multiple sex partners also increases your risk.

As a male if you have HPV at age 37 can your body fight the virus and it no longer in your body or once you get HPV it’s in you for life?

Some research suggests that some people truly clear the virus, but in other people the virus can hide deep in the affected mucosa or skin for several years, below detectable levels (these are called “latent” infections).

At this time, it is unknown what proportion of HPV is truly cleared by the body vs. what proportion goes latent. If your virus is latent, the HPV might “reappear” and cause health issues several years after the initial infection.

The good news is (whether your body clears it or whether your body is only able to suppress it), most people will not develop health problems from HPV.

PHOTO: Courtesy


Dr. Nita Landry, known as “Dr. Nita,” is a co-host on the Emmy Award-winning talk show The Doctors and a board- certified OB/GYN.

After obtaining her Medical Doctorate (M.D.) and completing her OB/GYN residency, Dr. Nita became a locum tenens physician (traveling doctor). In addition to practicing medicine and co-hosting The Doctors TV show, Dr. Nita is a published author who has served as a medical expert on television programs such as Good Morning America, The Today Show, Dr. Phil, Iyanla Fix my Life, CBS National News, and Black Entertainment Television.

She  and frequently speaks to teenagers and college students about sexual well-being, and she is regularly quoted in publications such as Self Magazine, Women’s Health Magazine, Shape Magazine, Cosmopolitan, and The Atlantic. 

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