At just 8000 genetic letters in length, the human papillomavirus (HPV) may be small — compare this with the 3 billion–odd letters of the human genome — but it can pack a mean punch. Some members of the HPV family of viruses are oncoviruses, meaning that they can lead to cancer. But if you’ve heard of HPV’s cancer-causing properties, you’ve probably heard it in the context of cervical cancer. Yesterday, Michael Douglas announced that his throat cancer was the result of infection with HPV. This afternoon, I was asked to write a piece for the Conversation about Douglas’s ‘cunnilingus caused my cancer’ confession — read it here.
Published by Dyani Lewis
I am a freelance science journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. I’ve written on a variety of topics, but I’m naturally drawn to evolutionary biology, medicine and microbes of all persuasions. My work has been published by Science, Nature Medicine, ABC Health & Wellbeing, Cosmos, The Conversation, Australasian Science Magazine and others. I’ve also guest blogged for United Academics Magazine. For two years running, I have had articles selected for inclusion in The Best Australian Science Writing (2014 and 2015), published by NewSouth Books. I am a regular co-host on Triple R’s Einstein-a-Go-Go science radio show and have hosted and produced science episodes for Up Close, the University of Melbourne’s podcast. I’ve also written and recorded for ABC Radio National’s Ockham’s Razor. I have a PhD in plant genetics, but I’m happy to have ditched the pipette and labcoat to get out and snoop around the scientific terrain being explored by others. I have a Masters in Journalism/Professional Writing to help me share what I find. I occasionally tweet @dyanilewis. View all posts by Dyani Lewis