March 3, 2023 is International HPV Awareness Day

By Pamela Tom | HPV Founder

Aware is defined as having knowledge or perception of a situation or fact. When it comes to HPV, understanding the facts may determine the difference between cancer prevention and a cancer diagnosis.

That’s why we address some of the most common myths about HPV, and to deliver the facts.

HPV-related Head and Neck Cancer News

In 2023, HPV-related head and neck cancer cases continue to rise, mostly in men.

Medscape reports that a new study, published in The Lancet Oncology (February 13, 2023), recommends two different tumor tissue tests for HPV presence when the test results are equivocal.

The researchers followed 7600 oropharyngeal patients in the UK, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Spain who had undergone p16 and HPV tests. P16 is a biomarker for HPV infection. Positive results for p16 are highly correlated with HPV infection in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). HPV tests identify HPV DNA or RNA within a tumor. The study consisted of 75 percent male; 25% female. (Note: there is no approved HPV infection test for men in the US.)

The analysis found patients with differing or equivocal test results had a “significantly worse prognosis” than patients who had all positive or all negative test results. Furthermore, patients with double negative tests were four times more likely than to die and three more times likely to experience disease progression than patients with double positive tests. As a result, the authors recommended that patients receive both tests where a patient’s HPV status is a critical factor. The prognosis for patients with HPV-related head and neck cancer is better than a non-HPV diagnosis.

“Routine HPV DNA or RNA testing, alongside p16 evaluation, or at least following a positive result on p16 immunohistochemistry, should be mandated in oropharyngeal cancer clinical trials, they suggest,” according to the Medscape review.

HPV Awareness Matters

What these findings mean: HPV awareness and education are more important than ever.

Parents need to know that we have a vaccine that protects against HPV.

Adults need to know that HPV is the most common STI in the US.

And everyone should know that HPV can sometimes, cause cancer.

On a global scale, the World Health Organization says more than 300-thousand deaths from cervical cancer are associated with HPV infection.


International HPV Awareness Day is an annual event, sponsored by the International Papillomavirus Society since 2018.

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