X-Ray Radiation, Viruses Identified as Cancer Agents; HHS Report Adds 17 Risk Factors
Byline: Joyce Howard Price, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Several viruses - including some sexually transmitted - and radiation from X-rays have been added to the Department of Health and Human Services' growing list of cancer-causing agents.
Hepatitis B and C viruses, and some human papillomaviruses (HPV), were among the 17 substances added to a list of 229 cancer-causing agents, according to the 11th edition of the Report on Carcinogens released yesterday.
Dr. Joe S. McIlhaney, president of the Medical Institute for Sexual Health in Austin, Texas, said it was "extremely significant" that HPV and hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) have been identified as "known" carcinogens.
"This brings science into the whole area of prevention," he said, given that HPVs are sexually transmitted, as are most cases of HBV. The major risk factor for HCV infection is illegal intravenous drug use, the federal report states.
Dr. McIlhaney said 18 strains of HPVs are responsible for about 99 percent of all cervical cancer cases. The report points out that HCV is the "leading cause of liver cancer in the United States," and that "chronic HBV infections" also cause liver cancer.
As for the cancer-causing viruses identified in the report, Dr. McIlhaney says, it is important for those sexually active to know that condoms do not reduce the risk of HPV transmission. The report says about 20 million Americans are infected with genital HPVs, and 5.5 million new infections occur yearly. Most people infected do not have symptoms.
About 1 million Americans are infected chronically with HBV, and more than 3 million are infected with HCV. …