Case study 22.1

HPV is also associated with other cancers besides cervical cancer. Can you identify one of these cancers?

HPV also plays a role in oropharyngeal cancer and oral cancer. The incidence of both these cancers is growing worldwide, both in young non-smokers and in young non-drinkers (smoking and drinking are considered the main risk factors). Epidemiologic studies suggest a strong association between the infection by human papillomavirus (HPV), especially types 16 and 18 (high oncological risk) which have already demonstrated their etiological role in anal tumours as well as in cervix cancer. There is clear epidemiologic evidence that both types of tumours relate to changes in sexual behaviour and that both are linked to sexual transmission of HPV. The number of oral oropharyngeal cancer cases is currently rising, especially among young individuals with no typical toxic habits, such as tobacco and/or alcohol.

What reasons might be contributing to Pauline’s fatalistic attitude to cancer?

Many factors contribute to a person’s fatalistic beliefs about cancer. The major factors include poverty and low educational attainment.