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Study on HPV-Associated Cancers

The purpose of this study was to find out how many cancers associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) were diagnosed between 2004 and 2008 by sex, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, and state of residence. HPV-associated cancers are found in certain parts of the body and certain cell types that often contain HPV DNA.

Each year, about 21,300 HPV-associated cancers are diagnosed in women, and 12,100 in men. Cervical cancer is the most common, with about 12,000 new cases each year. Oropharyngeal cancer is the second most common, with about 11,800 new cases each year (9,356 in men and 2,370 in women).

Among states, combined HPV-associated cancer rates ranged from 8.5 per 100,000 in Utah to 16.3 in West Virginia in women, and from 4.9 in Utah to 11.6 in the District of Columbia in men. Maryland, Colorado, and Utah had the lowest rates for most or all kinds of HPV-associated cancers, while Kentucky, Louisiana, and Tennessee had the highest rates.

Note: Updated statistics on HPV-associated cancers using methods similar to those used in this study are available at How Many Cancers Are Linked with HPV Each Year?

Preventing Cervical Cancer

Screening tests. Most cases of invasive cervical cancer can be prevented with regular screening and follow-up of abnormal results. Cervical cancer screening recommendations recently changed in the United States. The United States Preventive Services Task Force now recommends—

  • Women who are 21 to 65 years old should be screened for cervical cancer every three years if only the Pap test is used.
  • Women who are 30 to 65 years old should be screened for cervical cancer every five years if they are screened with both a Pap test and an HPV test.

Vaccines. Two vaccines are available to protect against the kinds of HPV that cause cancer most often. HPV 16 and HPV 18 cause 70% of cervical cancer, and HPV 16 causes most of the other kinds of cancer (non-cervical) caused by HPV. These vaccines help prevent cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal precancers.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends vaccinating girls and boys who are 11 or 12 years old. Since cervical cancer is the only HPV-associated cancer with an approved screening test, HPV vaccines are important to help prevent other types of HPV-associated cancers.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Human papillomavirus-associated cancers—United States, 2004–2008. MMWR 61(15);258–261.