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Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Cancer

Photo of a nurse giving a vaccine to a pre-teen boy while his mother looks on.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes most cervical cancers, as well as some cancers of the vagina, vulva, penis, anus, rectum, and oropharynx (cancers of the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils).

HPV vaccines are recommended for preteen girls and boys to protect against HPV infection. All kids who are 11 or 12 years old should get the HPV vaccine. Teens who did not get the vaccine or did not get all doses when they were younger should get it now.

Two screening tests can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early. The Pap test is recommended for women between ages 21 and 65. If you are 30 years old or older, you may choose to have an HPV test along with the Pap test.


Each year, about 39,800 new cases of cancer are found in parts of the body where HPV is often found. HPV causes about 31,500 of these cancers. Cervical cancer is the most common HPV-associated cancer among women, and oropharyngeal cancers (cancers of the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils) are the most common among men. Learn more.

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HPV Vaccination can prevent an estimated 28,500 new cancers per year. That’s more than the average attendance at one of the largest pop concert tours of last year.

HPV vaccination can prevent about 28,500 new cancers per year. Share this image on social media to spread the word.

Photo of a mother with her daughter

This blog post explains five things you may not know about HPV.