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HPV infection tied to skin cancer

Category: General Health

STD testing may benefit individuals who are already at risk for skin cancer, as a new study has found that human papilomavirus (HPV) infection may increase the risk of developing the dangerous skin condition.

There are many varieties of HPV, which is a sexually transmitted virus. Some of these varieties are already known to cause cancer of the cervix and other reproductive organs, but the link to skin cancer is new to the medical community.

Margaret Karagas, the Dartmouth Medical School researcher who led the investigation, said that understanding the possible link between HPV infection and skin cancer could help lower the number of incidences of the cancer, which continues to rise at a sharp rate.

"Given the widespread and growing occurrence of these malignancies, our results raise the possibility of reducing the health and economic burden of these cancers through prevention or treatment of human papillomavirus infection," she said.

She added that individuals like organ transplant recipients who are on immune suppressant drugs are at an even greater risk for developing skin cancer related to HPV.

The infection can be detected through commonly available STD tests administered by primary care physicians and at health clinics.

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