HPV Yet Again

From time to time I have entertained the hypothesis that cancer – and in particular lung cancer – is the consequence of a viral infection. And the virus in question is Human Papillomavirus, or HPV.

In recent decades HPV has been more or less determined to be the cause of cervical cancer, and a vaccine has been developed for it.

What interested me was that HPV was found in various other cancers, including lung cancer.

According to the authors of a study published in the journal Lung Cancer, HPV may even be the 2nd most important cause of lung cancer after smoking… As the link between HPV and cervical cancer was discovered by finding HPV in cervical cancer cells, HPV has been found in roughly 20-25% of lung cancers in the United States.

But this turns out to be just the average. Far higher figures have been found elsewhere:

Overall, the mean incidence of HPV in lung cancer was 24.5%. While in Europe and the America the average reported frequencies were 17% and 15%, respectively, the mean number of HPV in asian lung cancer samples was 35.7%. There was a considerable heterogeneity between certain countries and regions. Particular high frequencies of up to 80% were seen in Okinawa (Japan) and Taichung (Taiwan).

Smokers History lists a number of studies linking HPV with lung cancer.

Maybe HPV was the real cause of most cancers? Something I read today in a smoker’s blog brought this back to mind.

Warts

For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, smokers are more susceptible to infection with human papilloma virus, a large family of viruses that can cause warts—including genital warts.

While genital warts are caused by sexually transmitted types of HPV, smoking is also a risk factor. Even taking the number of sex partners into account, women who smoke are nearly four times as likely to have genital warts as nonsmokers, according to one study.

I usually disregard these sorts of stories, according to which smoking causes every disease known to man. But this fitted in quite well with the HPV cancer hypothesis. It seemed entirely plausible, for once, that smoking reduced resistance to some viral infections (while maybe increasing resistance to others). It might also be that people who ate potatoes and tomatoes and peppers, which contain nicotine, might also have a slightly lower resistance.

The modified HPV hypothesis would then be that HPV causes cancer, and that smokers (and perhaps a number of other categories of people) have less resistance to HPV than other people. Hence smokers get these sorts of cancers more frequently. It’s not that smoking causes cancer, but that smoking lowers resistance to the HPV infection that actually does cause cancer. The pandemic of lung cancer (and other sorts of cancer) is due to sexually-transmitted HPV multiplying in unprotected human populations. Smokers happen to be more prone to become infected. Perhaps partly because they probably have more sexual partners than non-smokers.

If so, most cancers are diseases much like any other viral or bacterial infections. Like tuberculosis or malaria or ‘flu. And if everybody was vaccinated against HPV, and not just young girls, cancer would be banished like TB.

And one of things that I like about the HPV cancer hypothesis is precisely this: Cancer would becomes a disease like any other, transmitted by infection. There would be an end to the claim that smoking causes lung cancer. It was never a very strong claim. It was simply a statistical association. And correlation is not causation. If it seems these days to be a fact of life that smoking causes lung cancer, it’s largely because a powerful medical establishment has been repeating the claim for the past 60 years, purely on the basis of statistical association. And once this became an unquestionable dogma, it also served to starve lung cancer research of funds.

more than 38,000 people die from lung cancer each year in the UK.

That amounts to more deaths than from leukaemia, breast and prostate cancer put together.

Yet lung cancer receives just 4% of the national cancer research budget.

Cancer charities say the stigma linked to lung cancer as a “smokers’ disease” means patients do not get the best support and information they need.

With research starved of funds, the dogma of the reigning smoking hypothesis could no longer be questioned, or any alternative hypothesis investigated. Antismoking dogmatism intensified.

This is exactly the same as with the climate science that pins the blame for global warming on human CO2 emissions. Anyone who disagrees is a “flat-earther”, and more or less a Holocaust Denier. Alternative hypotheses are starved of money. Dissenters are marginalised.

I feel sure that some sort of similar hypothesis will eventually oust the reigning smoking hypothesis. And it will see real science ousting pseudoscience. The HPV hypothesis would explain why the incidence of lung cancer just kept on rising, however many people gave up smoking, because smoking wasn’t what was causing the cancer epidemic. The best that could ever have resulted from people giving up smoking was that there were fewer susceptible people. Stopping people smoking as a lung cancer prevention measure was only going to be as effective as stopping people going to West Africa was a malaria prevention measure. It would help a bit. It doesn’t address the root cause.

Quite apart from these considerations, there are other considerations which also powerfully urge the dismissal of the dogma that smoking causes lung cancer. Was it necessary for Jews to disprove Nazi racial science before they could condemn the Nazi war on Jews? No, it wasn’t. That war could be condemned in itself, regardless of the racial pseudoscience underpinning it. The same is true today of the modern War on Smokers. It can be condemned in and of itself as another vile persecution of a minority. It just hasn’t yet become quite as murderous as the Nazi persecution of Jews. But it is already a global War on Smokers in a way that the Nazi War on Jews never was, restricted as it was to Europe. In that sense it is far worse. And the War on Smokers also shares the same origins as the War on Jews. Both emerged in Nazi Germany. And both were driven by crackpot healthist eugenic theories, largely promoted by doctors.

Also HPV linked to lung cancer

About Frank Davis

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20 Responses to HPV Yet Again

  1. Anonymous says:

    Dave Atherton
    I hope you are well Frank.
    There is no causation between HPV 16 and 18 and smoking. Although there is a correlation between smoking and cervical cancer of an apparent raised risk of 250% (relative risk 2.5) it is nothing to do with smoking. Cervical cancer is entirely due to HPV infection. This is from Cancer Research’s own website.
    Although Cancer Research do their best to spin it out as such despite the scientists saying no.
    “The authors concluded that even though smoking was not a risk factor for HPV, smoking acted with HPV to cause cervical neoplasia.”
    The correlation is that HPV is more likely to be caught by promiscuous people. Promiscuous people are 250% more likely to smoke.
    http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/cervix/riskfactors/index.htm#HPV

  2. Anonymous says:

    Frank, It’s interesting that CRUK still have drinking and smoking as risk factors for cervical cancer despite the fact that near 100% of them are in reality caused by HPV. No HPV means no cervical cancer. But in a sense CRUK are correct because not all HPV leads to cervical cancer there is room to make the argument that there could be a synergistic effect of smoking and or drinking in the development of cervical cancer – so they still can cause this cancer. But imagine all cervical HPV infections were 100% likely to lead to cervical cancer and there was no synergistic effect between smoking/drinking and this cancer – people could still claim smoking and drinking to be causal factors because all they have to demonstrate is that risk is lower in never drinker/smokers. The problem is, as I see it, that although one can only be killed once by something; ones life can be saved an infinite number of times – attributable risk is infinite.
    Which is why smokers and drinkers were always on a hiding to nothing because increased human activity almost always means increased risk. But how that is interpreted is another matter. Never smokers are the gold standard for risk in smoking studies on lung cancer. But virgins are not promoted as the gold standard for cervical cancer!!! CRUK advises people to give up smoking but not to give up sex!
    No one needs to have sex and we can reproduce with out it!! So where’s the beef!!!
    Fredrik Eich

  3. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Dave Atherton
    Promiscuous people are 250% more likely to smoke.
    And drink. And drive fast. And do all sorts of other risky things as well.
    Clearly cervical cancer is caused by HPV, but CRUK can’t admit it. It would ‘send the wrong message’.
    I’m very well.
    Frank

  4. Frank Davis says:

    It’s one of the oddities of puritanical healthism that it won’t advise people to give up sex. Almost all the effort goes iinto demonising smoking. I think the reasons for this are historical. Sex (of more or less every variety) has been getting a pretty good press for the past 60 years. Tobacco has not. Marijuana has also been getting a good (underground) press. The history of alcohol still includes distant memories of US prohibition. So the puritans attack their enemies where they are weakest. And this is primarily in tobacco, and to a lesser extent in alcohol, and not at all in their sexual mores.
    In my childhood, back in the 1950s, I had the strong impression that an awful lot of fear had been generated by the war on alcohol. In my family, back in the 1950s, there seemed to be a peculiar dread of people ‘taking to the bottle’. Over the next few decades, this strange terror largely evaporated. Now, of course, the same sort of panic has been generated about smoking (which was a blameless habit in the 1950s).
    It’ll probably be sex’s turn for demonisation in another 20 or 30 years.
    Frank

  5. Anonymous says:

    Peter MacFarlane
    “It might also be that people who ate potatoes and tomatoes and peppers, which contain nicotine, might also have a slightly lower resistance.”
    Hmm, not sure I buy this one.
    The stuff need to get into the bloodstream somehow before any effect is likely, and ingestion is a very different matter from inhalation.
    I wouldn’t give the nicotine molecule much chance when faced with stomach acids (pH about 4 iirc) or digestive enzymes.
    You can probably discount any such connection.

  6. timbone59 says:

    Could go on about this for hours, but will attempt a brief.
    When Roy Castle got lung cancer, he spent the remaining months of his life campaigning for the ‘Liverpool Lung Cancer Foundation’, a small charity who boasted that they were the only cancer charity researching the much neglected lung cancer specifically. Roy did a commendable job and raised funds and ongoing financial support for this charity.
    They took his name and it became the ‘Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation’. All the money and ongoing financial support he raised in his campaign went towards…no, not research into lung cancer. It was used to sponsor a huge ‘passive smoking’ campaign, including the ‘Roy Castle Award’ for places of hospitality and other public places which went ‘smokefree’.
    An elderley gentleman, not long after the pub ban started, forgetfully lit a cigarette in my local pub. He was kindly admonished (being a loveable regular). His reponse? AS he stubbed out his cigarette he said, “It is all Roy Castle’s fault”. Yes, the Holy City of the Church of Smokefree is Liverpool, and their Messiah is Roy Castle.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Dave Atherton
    I hope I now have irrefutable proof that SHS does not cause lung cancer in non smokers. The reason for the high incidence of lung cancer in smokers is the gene that protects us from all cancers the p53 gene can mutate if you smoke. The mutation in smokers is specifically the guanine to thymine transversion, known as G -> T transversion. This G to T event never happens in non smokers.
    Instead in non-smokers the EGFR or GPC5 genes have been implicated. The reason for their mutation is unknown as no research has been done into it because of the stranglehold the anti smoking lobby has on SHS. HPV and other viruses maybe the cause but it is fair to say the anti smoking lobby has blood on its hands.
    I normally put up a URL but I do not want them to get wind of my discovery and pull it down. It is the usual suspects.
    If you want a copy you can email me on daveatherton20@hotmail.com

  8. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Peter MacFarlane
    If (and it’s a Big If) smokers actually are more susceptible to HPV infections in the form of moles, then the slightly different body chemistry of smokers (added nicotine, carbon monoxide, etc.) might explain why. Whether it has to do with nicotine, or other nicotine compounds (like nicotinic acid or niacin) I wouldn’t like to say.
    The active ingredients of cannabis survive the digestive tract, so I don’t see why the active ingredients of tobacco shouldn’t also.
    I agree it’s speculative on my part, but I somehow find the idea attractive.
    Frank

  9. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Dave Atherton
    I’m game! Send a copy to me at cfrankdavis@googlemail.com.
    Frank

  10. Anonymous says:

    risk factors
    The point Fredrik makes about risk factors is important. It just means an association. I noticed this in a magazine advert for a well known “healthy” margarine, which was strictly correct because it claimed high cholestorol is a risk factor for heart disease. Whether or not it causes heart disease is irrelevant. This is very misleading to the general public.

  11. Anonymous says:

    HPV
    I spoke to my doctor about HPV just last week. He suggested that my son be immunized against it – not just young girls. He agreed that was high probably that HPV caused a lot more cancers than was currently known, and that HPV had been known to be a factor for at least 20 years! He also said it is quite likely that in future woman that are not infected with HPV will not need to have smear tests. He is of course a private doctor, so could spare me the time to discuss this

  12. Anonymous says:

    Dave Atherton
    Frank and John did you get my emails?

  13. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Dave Atherton
    Yes, I got it. But I’ve been away for the last few days, and unable to receive mail. So I’ve only just got it. And haven’t actually read it yet.
    Frank

  14. Re: Dave Atherton
    Thanks, Dave got it too. BT router has been down and haven’t been able to post until now.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Ha hahahaha, I can’t wait for this to come here to Norway. Can you imagine it, telling Norwegians they cannot have their efficient wood burning stove? In a country where temperatures regularly drop, at least in the North, to Arctic levels and there is electricity or electricity to chose from as an alternative. This country has been really quick to tag along behind all of the American anti smoking shit, now I wonder how fast they will be to take hold of this idea. It will cause a bloody revolution if they try it.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Ha hahahaha, I can’t wait for this to come here to Norway. Can you imagine it, telling Norwegians they cannot have their efficient wood burning stove? In a country where temperatures regularly drop, at least in the North, to Arctic levels and there is electricity or electricity to chose from as an alternative. This country has been really quick to tag along behind all of the American anti smoking shit, now I wonder how fast they will be to take hold of this idea. It will cause a bloody revolution if they try it.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Ha hahahaha, I can’t wait for this to come here to Norway. Can you imagine it, telling Norwegians they cannot have their efficient wood burning stove? In a country where temperatures regularly drop, at least in the North, to Arctic levels and there is electricity or electricity to chose from as an alternative. This country has been really quick to tag along behind all of the American anti smoking shit, now I wonder how fast they will be to take hold of this idea. It will cause a bloody revolution if they try it.

  18. Pingback: New and Old Epidemics | Frank Davis

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  20. Pingback: The Mutagenic Effects of HPV that Lead to Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma | caprizchka

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