As cervical cancer rates drop, other HPV cancers on the rise, study finds

Cervical cancer rates have dropped 1 percent annually since 2001, likely due to clear screening and HPV vaccination guidelines, while other HPV-related cancers without standardized screening guidelines are on the rise, according to research set to be presented at the 2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting.  

Researchers evaluated data on 657,317 people from 2001-17 using the U.S. Cancer Statistics Program, and found at the same time cervical cancer rates dropped, the incidence of oropharyngeal, anal, rectal and vulvar cancers rose 1.3 percent per year among women. 

Those HPV-related cancers don't have standardized screening guidelines, researchers highlighted. 

By 2025, the incidence of oropharyngeal, anal, and rectal squamous cell carcinoma cancers is projected to surpass that of cervical cancer in every age group over 50, according to the study.

Oropharyngeal cancer accounted for the majority of all HPV-related cancers among men. HPV-related cancers have risen 2.36 percent annually over the last 17 years among men, with oropharyngeal cancer incidence increasing the most. 

"Without standardized screening, HPV-related cancers, such as oropharyngeal cancers and anal rectal cancers, are increaseing," said Cheng-I Liao, MD, lead study author and physican at Kaosiung Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan. "In order to reduce what we're seeing with cervical cancer we must develop effective screening strategies and determine vaccine efficacy in these patient populations." 

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