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HPV-Related Cancer

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 44,000 HPV-associated cancers occur in the U.S each year.

Support ASHA HPV-associated cancers include cancers of the cervix, anus, penis, vagina, vulva, and oropharynx (back of the mouth/throat).

Each year, there are about 25,000 cases of HPV-related cancer among women, with cervical cancer being the most common. There are also about 19,000 cases among men, with oropharyngeal cancers (cancers of the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils) as the most common.

Anal dysplasia and anal cancer

  • Anal cancer is a rare occurrence that has been strongly linked to “high-risk” types of HPV.
  • Abnormal cell changes in the anal area (anal dysplasia or anal neoplasia) are more common among individuals who engage in receiving anal sex.
  • Anal cancer rates in men who have sex with men are 17-fold higher than in the general population. However, anal dysplasia has also been reported in some people who have a history of severe cervical dysplasia.
  • Treatment is available for anal dysplasia and anal cancer.

Head and neck cancer

  • “High risk” HPV is linked with some types of head and neck cancer, primarily oropharyngeal cancers found in the base of the tongue, tonsils, and soft palate.
  • Oral sex may be a risk factor for acquiring oral HPV.
  • While HPV is very common, oropharyngeal cancers are rare. Most of these cancers are not related to HPV.

Penile Intraepithelial Neoplasia (PIN) and penile cancer:

  • Cancer of the penis is extremely rare in the United States, and HPV is not always the cause.
  • There are some cases of cell changes (neoplasia) on the penis, which are caused by “high-risk” types of HPV.
  • Most people with a penis do not ever experience symptoms or health risks if they get one or more “high-risk” types of HPV.
  • Penile neoplasia can be treated. There is not a cancer screening for the penis because cancer of the penis is extremely rare, and because it is difficult to get a good cell sample from the penis.

Vaginal Intraepithelial Neoplasia (VAIN) and vaginal cancer

  • HPV has been linked with some, but not all, cases of cell changes in the vagina and with vaginal cancers.
  • Various treatment options are available for vaginal neoplasia, depending on how mild or severe the cell changes are in this area.
  • Vaginal cancers are rare.

Vulvar Intraepithelial Neoplasia (VIN) and vulvar cancer

  • HPV has been linked with some, but not all, cases of cell changes on the vulva and with vulvar cancers.
  • Various treatment options are available for vulvar neoplasia, depending on how mild or severe the cell changes are in this area.
  • Vulvar cancers are rare.
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