HPV - Stand Up To Cancer
Use Your Head

You can prevent HPV-related head and neck cancers. Learn more and talk to your health care provider.

Don’t freak out. HPV can lead to head and neck and other cancers, but there are things you can do to protect yourself. Learn more about HPV and how you can prevent related cancers below.

LEARN MORE about HPV

What the heck is HPVHPV?

Let’s start from the top. (Get it?)

HPV stands for human papillomavirus. It’s a large group of viruses which are so common that nearly everyone will contract it at some point in their lives. Some higher-risk HPV strains can cause cancers. The good news? These are highly preventable because there’s a vaccine. 😅

SCROLL DOWN TO LEARN MORE

HPV is so common that 85% of people will get some form of HPV at some point in their lives. But high-risk HPV is avoidable!

But wait, how do I get HPV?

HPV infections are very common, and they can be passed by 
skin-to-skin contact. HPV is mainly passed through sexual activity, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Anyone who has had sex can get HPV, even if it was only with one person. In fact, you can be infected if your partner doesn’t have any noticeable signs or symptoms. That’s why it’s important to get the vaccine to protect yourself.

MOST HPV INFECTIONS GO AWAY ON THEIR OWN, BUT SOME CAN LEAD TO CANCER.

HPV can cause cancer!?

Yep. Most low-risk HPV virus types won’t lead to cancer, but some higher-risk types, or chronic infection, can increase risk of getting some cancers in the future - like cervical, vulvar, vaginal, penile, anal, and head and neck cancer.

ABOUT 70% OF ALL OROPHARYNGEAL CANCERS ARE CAUSED BY CHRONIC HPV INFECTION.

Oropha-what?

“Oropharyngeal” is a big word for stuff related to your oropharynx, aka the back of your throat behind your mouth. It includes parts like the back of your tongue, your tonsils, and the back and side walls of your throat.

So what are oropharyngeal cancers?

Oropharyngeal cancers include cancers of the mouth, nose, throat, larynx, lymph nodes, and salivary glands. They’re the fastest-growing type of head and neck cancers in the US.

What actually happens when you get head and neck cancer?

Head and neck cancers can start inside and behind the nose, the mouth, the back of your throat, and on the lips. Depending on the specific cancer, it can cause unusual bleeding in the mouth, trouble breathing or speaking, pain when swallowing, and several other symptoms. If trouble breathing or speaking, and pain when swallowing, all don’t sound great, there are ways to protect against HPV infection.

WhyWhy should I care about all of this?


Preventing cancer is always better than treating cancer. And with HPV so common, it’s especially important to protect yourself. The good news is you can do something simple now which may save you a lot of hassle in the future. If you need a little more info on why preventing HPV and related head and neck cancers will benefit you, here are some numbers you should know.

42 42

Million

Americans are currently infected with HPV types that cause disease

1313

Million

About 13 million Americans become infected each year, including teens

7070

Percent

of all oropharyngeal cancers are caused by chronic HPV infection

9090

Percent

of cancers caused by HPV can be prevented by HPV vaccination

Many types of cancers can’t currently be prevented, but HPV-related head and neck cancers can be. Do your future self a favor and talk to your health care provider about the best prevention option for you.

THE HPV VACCINE GIVES YOU SAFE, EFFECTIVE, AND LONG-LASTING PROTECTION AGAINST CANCERS CAUSED BY HPV.

WOW. THERE’S A VACCINE?

Yes! The HPV vaccine gives you safe, effective, and long-lasting protection against most cancers caused by HPV by preventing the infection that causes them. There are two doses, given 12 months apart. And yes, they are very safe! The vaccines went through strict safety testing before they were approved by the FDA, and they’ve been closely monitored for more than 15 years. So far, all studies show that no deaths have been linked to any HPV vaccine.

THAT’S GREAT! WHEN SHOULD I GET IT?

It’s recommended that you get the vaccine between the ages of 9 and 12. That’s because research shows it works best when given to preteens. Don’t worry, you can still get the vaccine if you’re older. Teens and young adults between 13 and 26 should get it as soon as possible.

I’M IN. HOW DO I GET THE VACCINE?

Talk to your health care provider about how to get the vaccine for yourself. Doing something simple now may save you a lot of hassle in the future!

HPVHPV by the numbers

22

Doses

2 Doses in the HPV Vaccine

Ages

2626

& Under

Anyone under 26 can still get the vaccine

About

1313

Million

About 13 million Americans become infected each year, including teens

Ages

9-129-12

The ages when the vaccine is most effective, but anyone under 26 can get it

4242

Million

42 million Americans are currently infected with HPV types that cause disease

135135

Million

135 million doses of HPV vaccine that have been distributed so far

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