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The human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B and hepatitis C are viruses that can cause cancer. It’s time to Think About the Link® between viruses and cancer. Get screened, get vaccinated and get treated, so you can Stop Cancer Before It Starts!®

Hundreds of thousands of people in the world suffer from cancers caused by viruses and millions more suffer from the viruses that cause them, but many people are unaware that a link exists between certain viruses and cancer.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect against viruses, and ultimately, prevent cancer.

Certain populations are at increased risk of being infected with viruses, and therefore are also at increased risk for certain cancers.

You may be at increased risk for HPV if you:

  • Have had multiple sexual partners
  • Are a woman who has had unprotected sex with uncircumcised men
  • Are a man who is uncircumcised
  • Are a man who has sex with men

Learn more about HPV and cancer.

You may be at increased risk for hepatitis B if you:

  • Have had unprotected sex with someone who is infected
  • Live with someone who has chronic hepatitis B
  • Were born to a mother with hepatitis B
  • Have injected recreational drugs or shared needles

Learn more about hepatitis B and cancer.

You may be at increased risk for hepatitis C if you:

  • Were born between 1945 and 1965
  • Have injected recreational drugs or shared needles
  • Are infected with HIV
  • Received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992

Learn more about hepatitis C and cancer.

  • One in every four people in the United States is infected with at least one strain of HPV.
  • HPV can cause at least six types of cancer, including almost all cervical and anal cancers.
  • Each year, more than 42,700 HPV-associated cancers occur in the U.S.
  • Cervical cancer is the most common HPV-related cancer in women and oropharyngeal cancer is the most common in men. 
  • Studies show that HPV is probably responsible for 90% of anal and cervical cancers and more than 70% of vaginal, vulvar, penile and oropharyngeal cancers. 
  • With the HPV vaccine, HPV-related cancers can be avoided.
  • The HPV vaccine is recommended for all kids ages 11-12 and a “catch up” vaccine may be an option for teens and young adults to age 26. In 2018, the FDA approved the HPV vaccine for women or men ages 26-45. 

Think About the Link® spokesperson and Tony Award-winning actress Marissa Jaret Winokur shares her story of battling cervical cancer to motivate others to get the HPV vaccine for cancer prevention. Marissa’s story

Visit the HPV and Cancer page for more information.

  • Approximately 850,000 to 2.2 million people in the U.S. have chronic hepatitis B virus infection.
  • Approximately 2.7 to 3.9 million people in the U.S. have chronic hepatitis C virus infection.
  • Hepatitis B and C account for the majority of all liver cancers cases in the U.S.; hepatitis C alone accounts for approximately 50 percent of them.
  • Most people are unaware they are infected with hepatitis B or C until later in life, when they show symptoms of cirrhosis or liver cancer. With the hepatitis B vaccine and/or hepatitis C treatment, liver cancer can be prevented.

Think About the Link® spokesperson and Mexican-American song artist Alejandro Escovedo shares his story of surviving hepatitis C to motivate others to get tested and treated for the hepatitis C virus. Alejandro’s story.

Visit the Hepatitis B and Cancer or Hepatitis C and Cancer pages for more information.

  • Get vaccinated. Make sure you and your family receive the recommended HPV and hepatitis B vaccines. Use our Guide to Vaccinations for Parents for the recommended vaccination schedule.
  • Get tested. If you are a woman, talk to your health care professional about getting a Pap test to screen for cervical cancer. If you are at high risk for hepatitis B or C infection, get screened for the viruses.
  • Get treated. If you are infected with hepatitis B or C, there are treatment options available to reduce your risk of getting liver cancer.
  • Protect yourself. Avoid engaging in behaviors that transmit HPV and/or lead to hepatitis B and C, such as having unprotected sex, using injectable recreational drugs or sharing needles.
  • Get educated. Visit the Viruses and Cancer pages, connect with us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to learn more about the link between viruses and cancer.
  • Advocate. Using the Cervical Cancer Action Toolkit and HPV Legislative Report Card, engage your law makers and support initiatives that increase public awareness, education and access to the HPV vaccine.
  • Share your story. Help others understand the link and ways to prevent virally induced cancers by sharing your story.
  • Take the pledge. Health care professionals have the power to prevent cancer. Commit to talking to your patients about the HPV vaccine for cancer prevention.





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