Help Us Eliminate Cervical Cancer

  • In Canada 1 in 4 women diagnosed will die from cervical cancer this year
  • 99% of all cervical cancer is caused by HPV

You asked. The SOGC's digital doctors answered.

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Understanding the Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

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Understanding Cervical Cancer

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Understanding the HPV Vaccine

Meet the Digital Doctors

Dr. Cathy Popadiuk

Cathy Popadiuk is a gynaecologic oncologist in St. John’s Newfoundland, treating cervical cancer and other gynaecologic malignancies. She is also the accomplished Medical Director for the Newfoundland Cervical Screening Initiative Program.

Dr. Marc Steben

Marc Steben is a family physician working in a Family Medicine Group in Montreal. He is chair of the Canadian HPV prevention network and volunteers with HPV Awareness, a Canadian community group to help prevent HPV and eliminate cervical cancer.

Talk to your doctor about prevention

What is HPV?

The Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common, highly contagious virus spread by skin-to-skin contact during genital, anal or oral sex.

Did you know?

HPV causes 99% of all cervical cancer.
HPV is preventable through vaccination, regular screening and quick follow up.

Consequences of HPV

You might be infected and not even realize it. HPV can lead to cancer.
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Reduce your risk

Give yourself a fighting chance against HPV. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to prevent the virus.
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Fast Facts

There are more than 200 types of HPV with at least 40 that infect the genital tract and 15 that may lead to cancer.

In women, HPV has been linked to cancer of the cervix, vulva, and vagina and in men, to cancer of the penis. In both women and men, it has been linked to cancer of the anus, and mouth and throat.

6 Things to know about HPV

Genital Warts and cancers caused by HPV

Genital warts are often the only visible sign that someone has an HPV infection. These are small growths that can appear on or inside the sex organs several weeks, months, or even years after sexual contact. Most often, the HPV virus clears completely, but sometimes the virus stays hidden and reactivates later in life to cause genital warts. The two HPV types responsible for 90% of the cases of genital warts are HPV 6 and 11.

Cervical cancer, or cancer of the cervix, is almost exclusively caused by HPV. In Canada, about 1,500 women are diagnosed each year and 400 die from this type of cancer. Around the world, the four HPV types most commonly associated with cervical cancer are HPV 16, 18, 31 and 45.

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HPV Prevention

The earlier an HPV infection is found, the better chance there is of fighting it. Some ways to ensure early detection:

Cervical cancer screening
For women, the best defence against cervical cancer is to have regular Pap tests and/or HPV tests. These tests will detect abnormal cells in your cervix that could lead to cervical cancer. Women should visit a health care provider to have cervical cancer screening tests every few years or according to her province or territory’s guidelines.

Health Exam
Although the Pap test and HPV test are only available for women, men can be examined by their doctor for genital warts caused by HPV and for signs of cancers of the penis, anus, and mouth and throat. Both men and women should visit a doctor for regular health exams if they think they are at risk of contracting HPV or any other sexually transmitted infection.

Immunization Works

The latest 9-valent vaccine protects against the nine HPV types that are known to cause approximately 90% of cervical cancers, 80% of cervical pre-cancers, 75% of HPV-related vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers and pre-cancers, and over 90% of genital warts.

Vaccination is up to 90% effective at preventing the HPV types responsible for most genital warts and HPV-related cancers. There are three vaccines available and approved for use in Canada, each of which protects against certain HPV types:

  • 2-valent HPV vaccine – protects against HPV types 16 and 18
  • 4-valent HPV vaccine – protects against HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18
  • 9-valent HPV vaccine – protects against HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58

Want to know more about HPV?


Health information on this site is intended as information only. It is not intended to replace an in-person consultation with your own health care provider, nor is it intended to provide medical advice.