HPV can cause oral, anal, and penile cancers

In a new study, researchers found human papillomavirus (HPV) causes anal, penile, and oral cancers, but more than 70% of U.S. adults are unaware of that.

The research was conducted by a team from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and elsewhere.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection.

There are many types of HPV, but some are more likely to cause cancers and genital warts. The HPV vaccine can protect against cancers caused by the virus.

In the study, the team tested 2,564 men and 3,697 women who took part in the Health Information National Trend Survey.

They found two-thirds of men and one-third of women ages 18-26 did not know that HPV causes cervical cancer.

More than 80% of men and 75% of women in the same age group—and 70% of all American adults of any age—did not know that HPV can cause oral, anal, and penile cancers.

The analysis also showed that, in people who were vaccine-eligible or had vaccine-eligible family members, only 19% of men and 31.5% of women received recommendations for the vaccine from a health care provider.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), boys and girls ages 9-14 should receive the two-dose immunization.

A three-dose schedule is recommended if the first dose was given on or after the 15th birthday.

Recently, CDC also recommended that adults ages 27-45 may decide to get the HPV vaccine based on discussion with their clinician.

A 2018 report by the CDC suggested only 51% of those in the recommended age groups were vaccinated.

The team says the lack of knowledge may have contributed to low HPV vaccination rates in the United States.

Low levels of HPV knowledge in these older age groups is particularly concerning, given that these individuals are (or will likely be) parents responsible for making HPV vaccination decisions for their children.

Improving HPV vaccination rates is important to reduce the rising rates of these cancers.

The lead author of the study is Ashish A. Deshmukh, an assistant professor at UTHealth School of Public Health.

The study is published in the JAMA Pediatrics.

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