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HPV and link to cervical cancers

Posts: 540
Joined: Jul 2009


I actually have breast cancer and am going thru chemo. Last year my brother in law had oral cancer which his oncologist linked to the HPV virus related to oral sex with his wife. I hope this isnt offensive to anyone

Now his sister who is 50 called me tonight to say that she had an abnormal pap with HPV showing up so she needs to have another pap done.

I have seen all the ads on tv about guardasil which is the vaccine to give to young girls before sexual activity to help prevent the virus which is linked to cervical cancer so my daughter has already had it.

Does anyone here know if their cancers were related to the HPV virus and should I be worried about my sister in law? I havent told her yet about what I think is a link between the 2

Thanks for your advice and as a breast cancer patient going thru chemo I just want to say that Im praying for all of you. WE are all in this together

LInda T

lindaprocopio's picture
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

I have a rare form of uterine cancer (UPSC), and was tested for HPV way back in the biopsy phase before my cancer was definitively diagnosed. I was negative for HPV and that made my gyn-onc very happy, so there must be some tie to uterine cancer for HPV also. My uterine cancer was initially suspected after an abnormal routine PAP test so it could also have been that he worried that the cancer had spread to my cervix. (It hadn't.)

I have read that smokers that are positive for HPV are at risk for vulvar cancer. Apparently the carcinogens from cigarettes are excreted through urine and the simple act of wiping yourself when you have HPV can allow vulvar cancer to take hold. I read that tidbit online so don't take that as documented 'Gospel', but it made sense. The article said that over 90% of vulvar cancer patients are smokers.

Posts: 181
Joined: Jan 2009

I read your post regarding vulvar cancer and smoking, and the responses to it from others and wasn't sure where they were coming from, but I have just been through vulvar cancer and treatment. Cancer is non discriminate , DNA mutates for one reason or another. Tobacco contains cancer causing agents and can be a contributing factor.The most common type of vulvar cancer is squamous cell, and in those patients, up to half of them are HPV positive, and they are mostly young women, under 30 and are often smokers.Other vulvar cancers strike older women, not HPV related, but these women also show mutations of the p53 tumor suppressor gene, young women with HPV rarely have the p53 mutations. Then there are vulvar cancers that are very rare: melanomas and adenocarcinomas (of which I had), there is less known about them and they do not fit into either category.
I was 55, not HPV positive, a non smoker, in excellent health, and I still got cancer.As with all cancers, we can do our part to avoid risk factors we do have in control, but the bottom line is: Some people do everything they can to be healthy and they still get cancer, and there are those that have all the risk factors and never get cancer...
I guess I wanted to reassure you that you need not fear. I believe that all women with cancer should strive to be caring and supportive of each other, we all face the battle. The focus should not be on 'how' we got it, it doesn't matter once you hear the word 'cancer', what does matter is that you get the support to survive from that moment on.
I had a partial removal of my right vulva, and had to have 5 1/2 weeks of intense radiation, I'm doing o.k., but now face another surgery on my thyroid because there is a mass on one side.I could think 'what did I do', but all I did was take the treatment, and now that treatment may have caused another cancer...it's the way things go. I am not bitter, I live every day with full zest and hope,and I wish the same for you in your situation.
American Cancer Society has great info relating to all cancers, check it out.

lindaprocopio's picture
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

I also don't fit any of the 'profiles' for the typical person who gets uterine cancer. I have always been a fitness nut and organic gardener that consumed a very healthy diet etc. But cancer caught me anyway. I apologize if I got the % wrong, but appreciate that you at least support the idea that smoking may be a contributing factor in vulvar cancer. I wasn't being judgmental; I hope it didn't come off that way as that was not my intent.

I'm not sure what I wrote that set off those couple of wild responses that appear to attact me personally for my post. I never meant to offend anyone. Some days you just can't win.


Posts: 181
Joined: Jan 2009

No need to apologize, my response to you was for support, those 'wild' responses that appeared after yours were the ones that made me want to validate what you said. Hang in there, as I said, if you have been through cancer, you realize that judging is of no value. I was not judging you and I did not get the impression that you were being judgmental, my response was more for the 'others' that are quick to react without kindness and grace. I wish the best for you in your journey and hope you are in recovery. You have a friend in me :)

lindaprocopio's picture
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

I re-read my post 10 times trying to figure out what I said that elicited those combative responses (both from the same person.) Then, reading other Discussion Boards, I see that this poster has a provocative writing style all the time. My heart goes out to all who are travelling this cancer road with me, as we are all the 'walking wounded'. We may be damaged, but that doesn't make life any less beautiful and valuable and joyful, most days. I finished 9 months of surgery, chemo and radiation on July 1st, and am in that 'blissful ignorance' phase where I haven't yet had any diagnostic testing to see if the initial treatment protocol has knocked out the cancer. (They think all the radiation could affect the tests and could give me a false-positive or false-negative, so they want to wait 6 weeks before any diagnostic bloodwork or imaging.) I have decided to think of myself as cancer-free and cured until some diagnostic test proves otherwise, and I am soooo happy to not be 'doctoring' daily for the past month. Even if the cancer comes back (God forbid!) I am really enjoying this break from treatments after 9 long months of it! BIG HUGS and THANKS for your support and kindness in posting, funbeadgirl!

Posts: 181
Joined: Jan 2009

Hi Linda,
I am so glad you are done with your 9 month 'event', that is what I call my cancer experience, my 'winter event'. I never felt sick, so I really don't call it a sickness or illness, I think it is just a block in my mind, but it has helped me to get past it.
I had to wait 2 1/2 months after my last radiation treatment before I had a PET/CT scan, because the radiation does give false positive results. My scan did not show any cancer residual in pelvic area, but as I said in previous post, it picked up something on my thyroid, so now I will have surgery on Aug. 2th for partial removal of thyroid. The fine needle biopsy was inconclusive, that's why they recommend removal, then do a more in depth pathology. I feel frustrated because I just want to be DONE with all the doctor appointments and tests, it seems that I am on the phone or going to a doctor every week. I lost a job because of my diagnosis, I was asked to resign, so now again I have a new job, but this time my employer will work with me what ever comes up, I am grateful for that, and it is a much more fun job than the last.I was anxious to get back to work , so as to keep my mind on something other than myself, and give me a purpose.
I considered myself a survivor the minute I heard the word 'cancer', mostly because from that point on I had to keep going and make decisions and I wanted to be strong about it. The only thing that made me really sad was the thought of not seeing my grandkids grow up, they are 8 and 10.But that does not cross my mind anymore, now I am just living as I did before...until I hear otherwise.
I have been invited to walk a survivor lap at the local Relay for Life this Friday evening, and my hairdresser has a team of people that will be walking around the school track all night long (12 hours), to raise money for cancer. I am very honored and humbled by the opportunity.
Isn't it interesting that those posts were deleted?
Have a happy day!

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2009

Hello. I have this. I was recently diagnosed and started treatment Sunday night. I know who I got it from. It is pre-cancerous. It is VAIN 2 caused by HPV that my body could not fight off on it's own. My doctor said that 80% of sexually active women have some sort of HPV. He also said that it can stay dormant for a long time. The treatment is 5 FU cream inserted vaginally for 10 weeks. It is supposedly going to get aweful. I am sorry for all of the suffering that you all have endured. Ignore any negative comments. They are not worth the energy. Keep the faith. K

Kathryn_in_MN's picture
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sep 2009

There are many different strains of HPV, and several of them are linked to higher incidence of cervical cancer.

My cervical cancer battle was from 2000-2004. When I first started there was no test for HPV (or at least not accessible and affordable). Towards the end my GYN said that there was a test out, but it wouldn't change my treatments at that point, so why bother. He said he'd assume there was a good chance I did have HPV.

Fast forward to my pap last month. Now they routinely check for HPV at the same time they do a pap. I am negative for HPV, but did have an abnormal pap again (ASCUS).

After my battle, I made sure my two daughters got Guardisil, ih the hopes that they never have to go through what I did. (And mine wasn't as bad as a lot of people go through.)

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