January 9, 2013 — The number of cancer cases associated with the human papillomavirus increased from 2000 to 2009, according to the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, the Los Angeles Times' "Booster Shots" reports.
The report -- published Monday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute -- monitors long-term and short-term trends in cancer incidence and mortality in the U.S. It was produced by the American Cancer Society, CDC, National Cancer Institute and North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.
Overall, U.S. cancer mortality rates declined by 1.5% each year during the study period, driven by declines in the most common types of cancer, including breast, colon and rectal, lung, and prostate (Brown, "Booster Shots," Los Angeles Times, 1/7). However, mortality rates for certain hard-to-treat cancers increased, including uterine cancer among women (Reinberg, HealthDay, 1/7).
HPV is sexually transmitted and can cause genital warts, as well as anal, cervical, oral, penile, vaginal and vulvar cancers. Although screening has led to dramatic decreases in cervical cancer rates in recent decades, changes in sexual practices likely have contributed to increased rates of other types of HPV-related cancers.
One of the sharpest increases has been in anal cancer rates, which doubled from 1975 to 2009. From 2000 to 2009, anal cancer rates increased across all racial groups, with the biggest jumps among black men, at 5.6%, and white women, at 3.7%.
Although vaccination against HPV protects against several cancer-causing strains of the virus, just 32% of U.S. adolescent girls have received all three doses of the vaccine series. The report noted that the girls most likely to die of cervical cancer also are the least likely to receive the vaccine -- those who are poor, uninsured or living in economically depressed areas of the South (Szabo, USA Today, 1/7).