Most Common HPV Cancers

most common hpv cancers
At one point in time or another, we've all heard of HPV (human papillomavirus) and the fact that it is linked to a variety of cancers. However, not everyone knows the specific types of cancer that HPV can cause. In this article, we'll explore the top cancers HPV is responsible for and what you can do to protect yourself.

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is one of the most commonly known cancers caused by HPV. Nearly all cases of cervical cancer are linked to HPV. HPV infects the cells on the surface of the cervix, which can eventually lead to abnormal changes in the cells. If left untreated, these abnormal cells can develop into cancerous cells. However, if detected early, cervical cancer is highly treatable.

Anal Cancer

Anal cancer is another cancer linked to HPV, precisely HPV types 16 and 18. HPV infects the cells in and around the anus, which can lead to the development of cancerous cells. Symptoms of anal cancer include anal bleeding, itching, pain, and discharge. It's important to note that anal cancer is relatively rare, but it's still important to be aware of its associated risks.

Oropharyngeal Cancer

Oropharyngeal cancer is a cancer of the throat, tonsils, and tongue. Like anal cancer, oropharyngeal cancer is also linked to HPV types 16 and 18. Symptoms of oropharyngeal cancer can include sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and ear pain. This type of cancer can be challenging to detect early on, so knowing its risk factors is essential.

most common hpv cancers

Penile Cancer

Penile cancer is a rare form of cancer that affects the penis. HPV is responsible for about half of all cases of penile cancer. Symptoms of penile cancer include lumps or sores on the penis, discharge, and bleeding. As with other types of cancer, early detection is critical to successful treatment.

Vaginal and Vulvar Cancer

While rare, HPV can also cause cancer in the vagina and vulva. HPV infects the cells in and around the vagina and vulva, which can lead to the development of cancerous cells. Vaginal and vulvar cancer symptoms include abnormal vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge, and pain during sex.


The best way to prevent HPV-related cancers is through vaccination. The HPV vaccine is recommended for both males and females, starting at age 9 through age 26. The vaccine protects against the most common types of HPV that cause cancer, including types 16 and 18.

Additionally, practicing safe sex by using condoms and limiting sexual partners can help reduce the risk of contracting HPV. Regular screening tests, such as Pap smears for cervical cancer and anal Pap tests for anal cancer, can also help with early detection and treatment.

In conclusion, HPV is responsible for a variety of cancers, including cervical, anal, oropharyngeal, penile, vaginal, and vulvar cancer. However, prevention is possible through vaccination, safe sex practices, and regular screening tests. If you have any concerns about your risk for HPV-related cancers, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider.

most common hpv cancers