US News & World Report (01.08.13)
The incidence of mouth and anal cancers associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV) increased from 2000 to 2009, according to a National Cancer Institute (NCI) report. In contrast, overall cancer rates declined in the United States during the same time period.
According to CDC, 50 percent of sexually active people have an HPV infection at some point in their lives. HPV infections sometimes result in genital warts, but HPV can occur without symptoms. HPV-associated cancers include penile, anal, vulvar, vaginal, and cervical cancers. Close to 12,000 U.S. women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year.
CDC recommends girls ages 11 to 12 have three doses of the HPV vaccine Gardasil over a six-month period to achieve protection from HPV. Close to a third of US girls had been vaccinated for HPV in 2010, but only 14 percent of uninsured girls had been immunized for HPV. Nations that have achieved a better overall rate of HPV immunization for girls include Mexico (67 percent), Canada (85 percent), and the United Kingdom (70 percent). CDC recently also recommended HPV vaccinations for boys and men. Figures for HPV immunization coverage of boys and men are not yet available.
Edgar Simard, epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society and an author of the NCI report, said use of the HPV vaccine will eventually bring about a decline in HPV-related cancers. Since oral and anal cancers take years to develop, a drop in oral and anal cancer rates might not show up for decades.
The full report, “Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975–2009, Featuring the Burden and Trends in HPV-Associated Cancers and HPV Vaccination Coverage Levels,” was published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (doi:10.1093/jnci/djs491).