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  • Writer's pictureWomen's Cancer Research Foundation

HPV-Related Cancers Are on the Rise

With the Exception of Cervical Cancer, HPV-Related Cancers Are on the Rise, Especially in Older Adults

Over the past 16 years, the incidence of cervical cancer has decreased 1.03% annually, primarily due to improved screening and vaccination rates. However, other HPV-related cancers are increasing in both men and women. In particular, the incidence of oropharyngeal, anal, rectal, and vulvar cancers increased significantly for women, especially anal and rectal cancer. For older women, the incidence of anal and rectal cancer approached that of cervical cancer, notably in women over 80 years of age.

When considering rectal and anal cancer, these two conditions are expected to surpass cervical cancer by 2025 for every group aged 55 and older. Alternatively, over 80% of men were diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer, a nearly fivefold increase in incidence compared with women; older white men had the highest incidence of oropharyngeal cancer. In determining the incidence and trends of these HPV-related cancers in the United States, researchers examined oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), anal and rectal SCC, vaginal SCC, cervical carcinoma, and penile SCC via the U.S. Cancer Statistics program from 2001 to 2017. Men aged 65 to 69 were at greatest risk of developing oropharyngeal cancer, specifically white men.

This study indicates that screening and vaccine guidelines have significantly reduced the incidence of cervical cancer but for other HPV-related cancers wherein the screening and vaccine guidelines are unclear, the incidence is increasing and worthy of further investigation.

About Women’s Cancer Research Foundation The Women’s Cancer Research Foundation (WCRF) is one of Southern California’s and the nation’s most active research organizations for female cancers. We are dedicated to serving the interests of patients, families, and friends affected by women’s cancers. WCRF partners with physician-scientists nationally to make differences in women’s lives by offering hope, strength, and progress.

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