HPV-Associated Cancers

Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are a group of more than 200 related viruses that are easily spread through direct contact of skin and mucous membranes. HPV infections are the most common sexually transmitted disease. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 90% of sexually active men and 80% of sexually active women will be infected with at least one type of HPV in their lifetime.1

There are two categories of sexually transmitted HPVs — low-risk HPVs, which do not cause cancer and high-risk HPVs, which can cause cancer. In most cases, HPV infections go away on their own and do not cause any health problems. However, should a high-risk HPV infection persist for many years, it can cause cell changes that progress to cancer.

In this report, HPV-associated cancers are defined as those that occur in specific anatomic sites with specific cell types where HPV is often found because TCR, along with other cancer registries, does not routinely collect information about HPV status. The anatomic sites and cell types include carcinomas of the cervix and squamous cell carcinomas of the vagina, vulva, penis, anus, rectum, and oropharynx. Although not all cases of these cancers can be attributed to HPV, it likely contributes to all cancer cases among 3% of women and 2% of men.

To quantify rates and trends of HPV-associated cancers in Texas, age-adjusted incidence rates for Texas were calculated for 2013–2017. Note that the correlation between individual HPV infections and cancer risk was not assessed. The average annual percentage change (AAPC) in age-adjusted incidence rates from 2008–2017 was used to assess whether rates increased, decreased, or remained stable over time.


1 Chesson HW, et al. The estimated lifetime probability of acquiring human papillomavirus in the United States. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 2014; 41(11):660-664.