HealthDay News — Cancers associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV) are diagnosed in nearly 11 out of 100,000 men and women in the United States annually, the CDC reports.

Although U.S. cervical cancer rates have decreased as a result of successful screening programs, disparities still remain, and the HPV vaccine is likely to be an important prevention tool in reducing the incidence of noncervical HPV-associated cancers for which screening does not exist, Xiaocheng Wu, MD, and colleagues wrote in Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report.

Using data from two sources, the National Program of Cancer Registries and the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results program,  Wu and colleagues determined an average of 33,369 HPV-associated cancers were diagnosed each year between 2004 and 2008 — 21,290 among women and 12,080 among men. Furthermore, they projected an estimated 26,000 new cancers could directly be attributed to the the virus by multiplying the counts for HPV-associated cancers by percentages attributable to HPV.

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Cervical cancer was the most common HPV-associated cancer, with an average 11,967 cases diagnosed annually, followed by oropharyngeal cancer, at 11,726 cases. Interestingly, men were more frequently diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer than women, at a rate of 6.2 vs. 1.4 per 100,000 population.

HPV-associated cancer rates varied by state and gender, ranging from 8.5 per 100,000 in Utah, to 16.3 among females in West Virginia, and from 4.9 among males in Utah to 11.6  in the District of Columbia.

“Ongoing surveillance of HPV-associated cancers using high-quality population-based registries is needed to monitor trends in cancer incidence that might result from increasing use of HPV vaccines, changes in cervical cancer screening practices, and changes in behaviors that increase risk for HPV infection, persistence or progression,” the researchers wrote.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2012 Apr 20; 61(15):258-261.