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A large study that covered 83% of the U.S. population during 1998–2003 estimated that about 24,900 HPV-associated cancers occur each year. More than 17,300 HPV-associated cancers occur yearly in women, and almost 7,600 occur yearly in men. Cervical cancer is the most common HPV-associated cancer among women, and head and neck (oral cavity and oropharyngeal) cancers are the most common HPV-associated cancers among men. The following counts are from this study.

Because these numbers are based on 83% of the U.S. population, they may under-represent the actual number of cancers diagnosed during this time period. Also, this study used cancer registry data to estimate the amount of potentially HPV-associated cancer in the United States by examining cancer in parts of the body and cancer cell types that are more likely to be caused by HPV. Cancer registries do not collect data on the presence or absence of HPV in cancer tissue at the time of diagnosis.

Although nearly all cervical cancers are caused by HPV, cancer in some other areas of the body discussed on the page are often, but not always, caused by HPV. In general, HPV is thought to be responsible for about 90% of anal cancers and about 40% of vulvar, vaginal, and penile cancers.1 Cancers of the head and neck are usually caused by tobacco and alcohol, but recent studies show that about 25% of mouth and 35% of throat cancers are caused by HPV.2


1Parkin DM, Bray F. Chapter 2: The burden of HPV-related cancers. Vaccine 2006;24(suppl 3):S11–S25.

2Kreimer AR, Clifford GM, Boyle P, Franceschi S. Human papillomavirus types in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas worldwide: A systematic review.* Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention 2005;14(2):467–475.

*Links to non-Federal organizations found at this site are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the Federal Government, and none should be inferred. CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization Web pages found at these links.

Page last reviewed: August 18, 2008
Page last updated: August 18, 2008
Content source: Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
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