Information for patients

Ask your doctor about the early detection of cancer caused by HPV16

On the following pages you will find information on HPV and its potential to cause cancer. You can also read about how a cancer screening using a simple blood test would look like.

For more details and to find out if you should take part in cancer screening please see your doctor.

We are working with a number of doctor’s practices based in Germany who are already using the blood test to early detect tumours induced by HPV16.

What is HPV?

What does HPV mean?

HPV stands for Human Papilloma Virus and is a very common group of viruses. There are more than 120 different types which are widespread amongst the sexually active population. More than 80% of all sexually active adults are getting in contact with HPV once in their life.

9 out of 10 infected persons are not aware of their infection with HPV. This is due to the fact that the infection itself does not cause any symptoms und in most cases heals spontaneously. In some cases however, patients develop a tumour in the mouth, throat or anogenital area.

How is HPV spread?

HPV is spread via skin to skin contact. It is most commonly spread during sexual intercourse. The use of condoms can reduce but will not eliminate the risk of catching HPV.

How many patients develop a HPV induced tumour?

Patients diagnosed in Germany each year:

ca. 14,000 cases of mouth and throat cancer
ca. 11,000 cases of tumours in the anogenital area

Diseases caused by HPV

What kind of diseases are caused by HPV?

HPV can cause mouth and throat cancer, as well as cancer in the genital and anal area. In Germany 25,000 patients are diagnosed with mouth and throat cancer or cancer in the anogenital area each year.

While in the past patients older than 50 years were usually affected by the desease it is increasingly becoming more common amonst younger patients, too.

How does cancer develop in the mouth, throat and anogenital area?

There are essentially three main factors that are responsible for the development of cancer in the mouth and throat. These are consummation of tobacco and alcohol as well as an infection with the Human Papilloma Virus type 16 (in short: HPV16).

While it may be fairly easy to assess and control your tobacco and alcohol use it is often much more difficult to detect an HPV16 infection or cancer caused by HPV16. The mouth, throat and anogenital region include many hidden areas that cannot be fully examined during visual check ups at your doctor’s practice.

Early symptoms and abnormal lesions usually occur at a later stage of tumour development.

Cancer Screening

What gets examined and why?

A few years ago doctors have started using a screening test which reliably detects antibodies against HPV in your blood.

Thanks to this test it is easier to detect cancer in its very early stages. This will allow doctors using more conservative therapies compared to the treatment of tumours in advanced stages.

What happens at the check-up?

Just one drop of blood is needed for the screening test. Twenty minutes later the test result will be available.

If HPV 16 antibodies are detected in your blood you will be entitled to further examinations.

What does the result mean?

If the result is normal no indication of cancer caused by HPV16 in the blood could be found.

The routine screening should be repeated once a year. If the result is abnormal HPV16 has begun to influence cell growth in your body.

The early detection of this process is the aim of the screening as this will significantly help the therapy. Your doctor will discuss the next steps with you.