HPV and cancer: 2 physicians explain links (W/VIDEO)

February 27, 2014 | by Valerie Zapanta

Once unknown to most people, HPV, or human papillomavirus, has become a subject of both worry and debate. It's directly linked to cervical cancer, head and neck and other cancers, but many parents are reluctant to vaccinate their daughters against the disease.

City of Hope's recent "Ask the Experts" session “HPV and Links to Cancer” brought some clarity to the issues surrounding this now-common virus, answering questions about the connection between HPV and cancer.

Ellie Maghami, M.D., chief of head and neck surgery at City of Hope, and Lily Lai, M.D., associate clinical professor of colorectal surgery, discussed HPV vaccines, how HPV is contracted and the relationship between HPV and cancer. They also explored the changing patient profile of people affected by HPV-related cancers.

A few highlights:

  • Up to 25 percent of oropharyngeal cancer (throat cancer) cases in the United State are not related to tobacco and alcohol abuse.
  • Sexually transmitted oral HPV infection is the principal risk factor for the distinct form of head and neck cancer.
  • HPV is linked to 80 to 95 percent of all anal canal cancers.
  • A total of 90 percent of women with cervical dysplasia have anal HPV infection.
Watch the full presentation above.


Sign up for our next "Ask the Experts" program, "Colon Health," on March 19 to learn about the importance of screenings, colon cancer risk factors, cancer treatments and much more.

To view past Ask the Experts programs that feature several cancer related topics, visit our "Ask the Experts" video series.

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