There are more than 40 types of human papilloma virus, or HPV, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The many types of HPV can be further divided into “low risk” or “high risk,” depending upon the likelihood of a person developing a terminal cancer from the virus. HPV is extremely common, though it can be asymptomatic until too late. Several famous people have struggled with HPV-related cancers, such as Farrah Fawcett and reality TV star Jane Goody.
HPV is a sexually transmitted disease. You can also get HPV through an open wound or a cut or by having sex with an infected person. Many people will get some type of HPV before they turn 50 years old. In most cases, the virus will clear up on its own within two years, according to the CDC. People who have more sexual partners or a weakened immune system are more likely to get HPV, according to the Mayo Clinic. Women under 25 are also more likely to be diagnosed with genital HPV.
HPV includes a broad range of conditions, from plantar warts on the feet to genital warts, from lesions in your mouth and upper respiratory tract to tumors on the cervix, anus, vagina and penis. The types of HPV that lead to plantar warts or genital warts are different than the types of HPV that can lead to cancer. While it is difficult know if any celebrities have plantar warts or genital warts, some celebrities have been diagnosed with cervical cancer and other cancers caused by HPV.
Celebrities Who Survived Cervical Cancer
Some famous people, such as actress Marissa Jaret Winokur, who played the role of Tracy Turnblad in the Broadway production of “Hairspray,” have had cervical cancer and beaten it. Winokur was diagnosed with the cancer at the age of 27. It spread to her uterus as well. After having both her cervix and uterus removed, she’s made a full recovery. Scottish singer Sandi Thom also had a brush with HPV as a teenager. A PAP smear revealed abnormal cells, which were removed from her cervix. She has also recovered.
Other Famous People with Cervical Cancer
Other famous people with cervical cancer have not been so fortunate. Eva Peron, wife of President Juan Peron, died of the cancer at age 33, while British reality TV star Jade Goody passed away from cervical cancer at age 27. At the time of her death, Goody’s cancer had spread to her brain. Peron’s mother had also died of cervical cancer, though at a much older age.
Other Types of Cancer
Other types of cancers caused by HPV have afflicted famous people. Former “Charlie’s Angel” Farrah Fawcett passed away in 2009 after a battle with anal cancer. She was originally diagnosed with the disease in 2006. According to the CDC, as much as 85 percent of anal cancer cases are caused by HPV. Fawcett’s death could do a lot to raise awareness for the cancer, which is rarely discussed, even though it is on the rise, according to the L.A. Times.