Cancers Caused by HPV

HPV infections can lead to certain types of cancer in men and women. Whether you have a son or daughter, talk to your child’s doctor about HPV vaccination to prevent infections that cause these cancers.

6 types of cancer caused by HPV

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HPV can cause cancers of the:

Cancer usually takes years, even decades, to develop after a person gets HPV. CDC recommends HPV vaccination at ages 11–12 years, to prevent HPV infections that may lead to these cancers. HPV vaccination prevents invasive cancers, as well as anal, vaginal, cervical, and vulvar precancers (abnormal cells that can lead to cancer), further reducing the health burden of diseases caused by HPV.

There is no way to know which people who get HPV now will develop cancer or other health problems later. People with weakened immune systems (including individuals with HIV/AIDS) may be less able to fight off HPV and more likely to develop health problems from it.

Smiling family sitting with doctor

6 types of cancers caused by HPV
Cancer Cases in Women Cases in Men
Back of the Throat 2,200 11,800
Cervical 11,000 0
Anus 4,400 2,100
Vulva 2,800 0
Penis 0 800
Vagina 700 0
Total 21,100 14,700

Source: How Many Cancers Are Linked with HPV Each Year?
Data as of August 2020

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HPV vaccination can prevent over 90% of cancers caused by HPV.

Cervical cancer and HPV

More than 9 of every 10 cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV. Cervical cancer can be largely prevented by HPV vaccination.

Illustration showing 3 circles with data within each. First circle: 300,000 cervical precancer cases. Second circle: 11,000 cervical cancer cases. Third circle: 4,000 deaths.

Every year in the United States:

  • Nearly 200,000 women are estimated to be diagnosed with a cervical precancer, or abnormal cells on the cervix that can lead to cancer.
  • 11,000 cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV.
  • Over 4,000 women die from the disease.

Cervical cancer was once the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States. HPV vaccine and cervical cancer screening have made it one of the most preventable cancers. Even women who have received HPV vaccine should still get regular cervical cancer screening starting at age 21 years.

Screening alone won’t protect from most cancers caused by HPV

Cervical cancer is the only type of cancer caused by HPV that can be detected early by a recommended screening test. The other types of cancer caused by HPV may not be detected until they cause health problems. HPV vaccination prevents infections that cause these cancers.

Vaccinating boys can prevent cancers caused by HPV in men

HPV doesn’t only affect women. More than 4 out of every 10 cases of cancer caused by HPV occur among men.

Every year in the U.S., over 14,000 men get cancers caused by HPV. Whether you have a son or daughter, talk to your child’s doctor about HPV vaccination.

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Page last reviewed: November 17, 2020