I was watching this video featuring Robert Scott Bell. It is about the flu vaccine being ineffective, but he makes this quick statement about the human papillomavirus (HPV):

If we can't vaccinate you for the flu how about we vaccinate you for the human papillomavirus that we claim causes cervical cancer 20 or 30 years down the road, which is also another lie: It's an official story there to protect the official profits of Big Pharma. [Transcribed by me starting at 40 seconds in]

He seems to be claiming that the HPV does not cause cervical cancer at all. He calls it a lie. What are the studies that show the HPV does cause cervical cancer? Are they lies, inflated or exaggerated or are they credible?

I was thinking that it is possible that he was saying that the vaccine for HPV is ineffective but I don't think so.


1 Answer 1


In this paper: Human papillomavirus is a necessary cause of invasive cervical cancer worldwide the authors analysed samples which had previously tested negative for HPV with more advanced methods and found them positive, raising the rate (of HPV in cervical cancers) from 93% to 99.7%.

They state in the abstract that:

Combining the data from this and the previous study and excluding inadequate specimens, the worldwide HPV prevalence in cervical carcinomas is 99·7 per cent.The presence of HPV in virtually all cervical cancers implies the highest worldwide attributable fraction so far reported for a specific cause of any major human cancer.

This means that nearly all cervical cancer cells contain HPV DNA. I don't know if any studies have been done to infect animals with an HPV equivalent to see if they develop cervical cancer. But a correlation of 100% is pretty compelling evidence by itself.

  • 3
    A correlation of any high percent is not necessarily compelling. A correlation, by definition, cannot show causation. Whether the cancer came before the virus or the virus before the cancer is unknown (if all we have is this correlative data). This is a good answer though. Although my question was "Does it cause cancer," I really meant "What is the evidence that makes people say it causes cancer?" You answered the second question well enough. You get the check mark unless someone else gives a better answer in the future.
    – user11643
    Jan 14, 2014 at 22:40
  • 2
    This is true. There are HPV infections in people who don't have cervical cancer, while there are essentially no people who have cervical cancer and don't have HPV. This isn't enough to prove a causation, but its enough to make it worth trying a vaccination programme to see if it can be prevented!
    – Nick
    Jan 15, 2014 at 11:05
  • Is there any data on what percentage of HPV patients actually got cervical cancer, and the percentage of cervical cancer among all cancers though?
    – xji
    Feb 1, 2017 at 18:48
  • @Nick not enough. One also has to prove that the benefits are bigger than the risks. Causation between HPV and cervical cancer should be proven before approving of a vaccination program, otherwise the benefit side of the equation is quite weak.
    – BKE
    Feb 23, 2018 at 8:57

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