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HPV linked to skin cancer


A recent study has found a link between human papillomaviruses (HPVs) and skin cancer: those who have had HPV are at higher risk of getting a common type of skin cancer. The virus that is already known to increase chances of getting cervical, vaginal and throat cancers has now also been found to increase chances of developing squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas (two of the most common types of skin cancer).

The risks of developing the skin cancers are even higher in patients who frequently and over long periods of time take steroids, such as to suppress the immune system.

Dr. Margaret R. Karagas, of Dartmouth Medical School, and her team set out to determine if there are antibodies to 16 different skin HPV types.

“We didn’t find any high-risk types of HPV, as is the case for anal/genital cancer. But what we did find is a relationship between squamous cell carcinoma and the number of types to which someone tests positive,” Dr. Karagas told medical website WebMD.

Could common skin cancers be prevented automatically by treating or preventing HPV? Could it be that simple? While it is not confirmed that HPV causes skin cancer (it has only been confirmed that they have the same risk factors), this is what the researchers are reportedly hoping for.

Celebrities who have fought skin cancer in some form include Melanie GriffithBob Marley and Elizabeth Taylor.


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