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Essential Guide: How to Protect Your Kids from HPV Cancers

An HPV infection, while most cases cause nothing more than harmless warts, can lead to various types of cancer such as cervical or vaginal and anal cancer in the event of more severe cases. It is an infection that can be spread through sexual skin-to-skin contact with someone who has HPV.

In this blog post by Pacific Prime CXA, we will be discussing what HPV is and how future parents in particular can protect their kids from the potential risk of cancer as a result of the condition.

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What is HPV?

An HPV, short for Human Papillomavirus, infection is a viral infection caused by physical contact such as sexual intercourse and results in the formation of skin growths such as warts. People get HPV when their vulva, vagina, cervix, penis, or anus touches someone else’s genitals, mouth, or throat.

A mother can also spread HPV to the baby when giving birth. More specifically, the virus could be spread through the placenta, amniotic fluid, and contact with genital warts. Sexually active mothers have a greater risk of contracting HPV, especially in the event of multiple sexual partners.

However, the risk of mothers passing HPV to their baby is relatively low. Additionally, even if the baby gets HPV viruses from the childbirth process, their bodies should be able to clear the virus on their own.

Mothers with HPV infections can still breastfeed their baby as it is perfectly safe to breastfeed without transmitting HPV viruses due to the incredibly low risk. Additionally, HPV viruses cannot be transmitted through bodily fluids such as semen or saliva.

HPV and Cancer

HPV infections can go beyond causing warts by causing different types of cancer, the most common of which is cervical cancer, followed by vulvar cancer, vaginal cancer, and anal cancer.

A positive test result indicates that you have a severe case of HPV that can lead to cervical cancer. While it doesn’t necessarily indicate that you have the cancer at this exact moment, it could also mean cervical cancer could develop in the future.

Worldwide, HPV is responsible for up to 99% of cervical cancer cases, 78% of vaginal cancer cases, and 91% of anal cancer cases.

Diagnosis for HPV Cancers

The three primary tests and checkup procedures that can be done in order to diagnose for HPV cancers include HPV tests, colposcopy, as well as pap smear tests. Below are explanations on each of the three primary HPV cancer detection and diagnosis methods.

  • Pap Smear:The pap smear test is used to look for abnormal cervix cells that could lead to cervical cancer. The test finds cell alterations caused by high-risk HPVs but doesn’t test for HPV itself. Results will come out as either “normal” or “abnormal”.
  • HPV Test: HPV tests, true to its name, actually looks for HPVs in cervical cells but doesn’t directly indicate whether or not you have cancer.
  • Colposcopy: A colposcopy closely inspects the cervix, often done whenever cervical screenings detect cellular changes caused by HPVs.

HPV Treatment

There are no definitive treatment methods for HPV, meaning they can reappear in the same area or elsewhere. For mild cases without symptoms beyond warts forming, however, there is a strong chance that the immune system will attack the virus and the infection could be gone within two years.

Topical medications used to treat HPV warts usually take many applications for efficiency.

Below are common types medication used to treat warts resulting from HPV:

  • Salicylic Acid:Over-the-counter treatments containing salicylic acid help progressively remove layers of an HPV-infected wart little by little.
  • Imiquimod: This cream can help enhance the immune system’s ability to fight off the HPV viruses.
  • Podofilox: This topical prescription helps destroy genital wart tissue.
  • Trichloroacetic Acid: This chemical burns off warts on the palms, soles, and genitals.

More complicated, surgical procedures for treating HPV include freezing with liquid nitrogen (also known as cryotherapy), burning using an electrical current (electrocautery), surgical removal, or laser surgery.

Prevention for HPV Cancers

The only way of truly preventing HPV cancers is to refrain from having sexual intercourse with infected individuals to begin with or at least practice proper sexual intercourse safety. Below are general prevention methods to avert your risk of getting HPV cancers.

Get HPV-Vaccinated

The best prevention for HPV cancer is to get vaccinated before you become sexually active. This is because HPV vaccines help stimulate the body to produce antibodies in preparation for possible HPV infections in the future.

Regular Screenings and Tests

Early detection of HPV viruses through regular screenings and tests is key to cervical cancer prevention. It’s strongly recommended that you get regular pap smears as soon as possible while you’re young and healthy as you never know when you could have been infected due to lack of symptoms.

Additionally, this also helps keep your health insurance premiums in check as younger individuals are considered healthier by insurers and involve less premiums.

Practice Sex Safety

Another method in preventing HPV cancer is to refrain from having sexual intercourse with infected individuals right from the start. However, if you wish to do so, take precautions by using condoms. Using condoms help reduce the risk of transmitting HPVs as the infected area is covered up.


Silent but deadly, HPV can infect anyone without them knowing due to lack of noticeable symptoms and can be spread through skin-to-skin contact. What’s worse, infections can also rage on and become cancerous if left untreated.

However, it doesn’t mean prevention is next to impossible altogether. By practicing sex safety, getting regularly screened and tested, and getting vaccinated, future parents can prevent the infection and spread of HPV cancers in order to ensure the safety of their children.

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As an international health insurance broker, Pacific Prime CXA has helped match both expats and local citizens with a health insurance plan that matches both their budget range and unique healthcare needs.

Whether you’re an expat in Singapore or a local citizen yourself, our team of specialists will be more than happy to help you out. And if you have any further questions, please get in touch with us.

Content Writer at Pacific Prime CXA
Wish Sutthatothon (Nickname: Guy) is currently a content writer at Pacific Prime Thailand, an insurance broker that connects individuals and businesses with insurance providers worldwide. He creates and edits blog articles, guides, reports, webpages, and other types of digital content.

He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts, Media & Communication major (concentration: Creative Content) from Mahidol University International College (MUIC). During the compulsory major elective period in the summer of 2021 and voluntarily during the summer of 2022, he also interned as a video and photo editor at Mbrella Films.

He has experience working as an English Content Writer at a real estate buying/renting/selling platform in Thonglor. There, he crafted company blog posts on a multitude of topics. Topics include market trends, legal issues and disputes in property businesses, financial guides, expat guides, home insurance, home decoration and maintenance, and weekly real estate news quick-recaps. Occasionally, as part of the blog-writing process, he would also translate existing Thai blogs to English.

In his free time, Guy enjoys doing scriptwriting and storytelling for comic strips, watching movies, and listening to music (particularly film scores).
Wish Sutthatothon