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HPV-Associated Oropharyngeal Cancer Rates by Race and Ethnicity

Some cancers of the oropharynx (back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils) have been linked with HPV. It is estimated that about 3,400 new cases of HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancers are diagnosed in women and about 14,800 are diagnosed in men each year in the United States.* These numbers are based on cancers in specific areas of the oropharynx and do not include cancers in all areas of the head and neck or oral cavity. Non-Hispanics and men get these cancers more often than Hispanics and women.

*Note: This study used cancer registry data to estimate the amount of 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. Cancers in this area of the body are often caused by tobacco and alcohol, but recent studies show that about 70% of oropharyngeal cancers may be caused by HPV.

HPV-Associated Oropharyngeal Cancer Rates by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex, per Year, United States, 2011–2015

Bar chart showing the rates for HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancers in the United States per year during 2011 to 2015.

The graph above shows age-adjusted incidence rates for HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancers in the United States during 2011–2015. The rates shown are the number of men or women who were diagnosed with an HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer for every 100,000 men or women.

  • Among whites, about 1.8 women and 8.8 men per 100,000 were diagnosed with HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer.
  • Among blacks, about 1.4 women and 6.6 men per 100,000 were diagnosed with HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer.
  • Among American Indian/Alaska Natives, about 1.0 women and 5.0 men per 100,000 ere diagnosed with HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer.
  • Among Asian/Pacific Islanders, about 0.6 women and 2.1 men per 100,000 were diagnosed with HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer.
  • Among Hispanics, about 0.9 women and 4.3 men per 100,000 were diagnosed with HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer.
  • Among non-Hispanics, about 1.8 women and 8.8 men per 100,000 were diagnosed with HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer.

Data are from population-based cancer registries participating in CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) and/or the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program for 2011 to 2015, covering 100% of the U.S. population.

References

Data source: National Program of Cancer Registries SEER*Stat Database: U.S. Cancer Statistics Incidence Analytic file 1998–2015. United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Released June 2018, based on the November 2017 submission.

Viens LJ, Henley SJ, Watson M, Markowitz LE, Thomas CC, Thompson TD, Razzaghi H, Saraiya M, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Human papillomavirus–associated cancers—United States, 2008–2012. MMWR 2016;65(26):661–666.

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