The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a highly transmittable infection that is spread through close contact with someone who has the active virus. Mayo Clinic staff say HPV is a precursor to cervical cancer and anal cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says almost all cervical cancer is caused by HPV, with about 9,000 cases in the United States yearly. HPV also causes certain types of cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus and some cancers in areas of the head and neck. The CDC says about 80 percent of all sexually active women have HPV by the age of 50, usually without symptoms or knowing they have it. It is difficult to confirm famous people who have been infected with HPV unless they have openly admitted the problem and come out in support of a vaccine against the HPV virus, which is a precursor to cervical cancer. Others known to have been infected with HPV include those who have died as a result of HPV-related cancer.
Marissa Jaret Winokur
Marissa Jaret Winokur won a Tony in 2003 for her portrayal of Tracy Turnblad in the Broadway play “Hairspray,” after having a radical hysterectomy in 2000 to treat her cervical cancer. She made a full recovery and has appeared in several television sitcoms as well as on season six of TV’s “Dancing With the Stars.”
British reality TV star Jade Goody died of cervical cancer March 22, 2009. Cervical cancer has the HPV precursor, according to Mayo Clinic staff. Goody made her demise public with media documentation of her failing health, as did Fawcett.
In a news story in the Aberdeen, Scotland, Press and Journal in August 2008, Scottish singer/songwriter Sandi Thom said, “ 'When I was 19, I had a cancer scare and had to have laser surgery on my cervix in order to remove abnormal cells.” The singer, who signed an RCA recording deal after making webcasts of her singing, went on to promote HPV vaccines so “that other girls will not have to go through this and they will now be more protected from the risk of cervical cancer.”
Evita Peron, the second wife of Argentinian leader Juan Peron, died in 1952 of cervical cancer in her early 30s. Peron’s first wife had died of cervical cancer at age 28 and Eva’s mother died of the disease at age 77.