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Can human papillomavirus cause cervical cancer?

Q: I am a 35 years old housewife who had human papillomavirus (HPV) 6 strain, which has caused genital warts. My Pap smear is showing LSIL. Can HPV 6 strain cause cervical cancer? Are there any chances that HPV 6 virus can be transmitted from a wart that I have on my feet? Can HPV virus be transmitted to my child?

A:In medicine one can not say "never" OR "ever". That means anything is possible - one can still develop cancer after vaccination. However, on the basis of available data, one can make a reasonable forecast which is likely to be true. HPV 6 virus is oncogenic. The quadrivalent HPV vaccine is for serotypes 6, 11, 16, and 18. There are other serotypes also, which can cause cancer. Thus if you are vaccinated with this quadrivalent HPV vaccine, you will be protected specifically against these types and to a lesser extent to the other types.

In other words, the chances for developing cancer are reduced but not eliminated. Further, the protection is more in an individual who gets the vaccine before getting infected. Thus, from such vaccination, a person who already has an infection with type 6 can hope for some protection, but not to the same extent as a naive person. After vaccination, on fresh exposure, one can still get an infection from other serotypes, though chances are reduced. The vaccination in one person does not reduce the chance of infection of another person, as it will depend upon his/her immune defense capability. It is always good to follow safe practices and lead a healthy life style.


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