HPV and Cancer
Several types of cancer are associated with HPV:
- Cervical cancer: The most common HPV-associated cancer. Almost all cervical cancer is caused by HPV.
- Vulvar cancer: About 50% are linked to HPV.
- Vaginal cancer: About 65% are linked to HPV.
- Penile cancer: About 35% are linked to HPV.
- Anal cancer: About 95% are linked to HPV.
- Oropharyngeal cancers (cancers of the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils): About 60% are linked to HPV. [Note: Many of these cancers may be related to tobacco and alcohol use]
Most of the time, HPV goes away by itself within two years and does not cause health problems. It is thought that the immune system fights off HPV naturally. It is only when certain types of HPV do not go away over years that it can cause these cancers. It is not known why HPV goes away in most, but not all cases. There is no way to know which people will go on to develop cancer or other health problems.