Millions of people in the United States have a virus that could cause cancer. How can you protect your children from it? Dr. Gene-Fu Liu, radiation oncologist at The Queen’s Medical Center, explains more about the human papillomavirus (HPV) in this Ask a Specialist.
Dr. Liu says HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection; about 79 million Americans are currently infected, and nearly all sexually active men and women will get it at some point in their lives. It’s transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.
HPV usually goes away on its own, says Dr. Liu, but health risks include the fact that it can cause genital warts and cancer by blocking the body’s ability to suppress tumors. “There is no way to know which people with HPV will develop cancer,” adds Dr. Liu.
To prevent the spread of HPV and avoid HPV-related cancers, people between the ages of nine and 26 are eligible for the HPV vaccine. Make sure you get all three shots required for immunization; Dr. Liu says the majority of children do not receive all three shots.
Another prevention measure includes women getting screened for cervical cancer.
To learn more about cancer, check out The Queen’s Cancer Center’s website. You’ll find a lot of information on the different types of cancers, causes, treatment options and more. That’s at queensmedicalcenter.org/cancer
For more information on cancer – including the different types of cancer, causes, testing methods and treatment options, click here.