By Joy Daughtery Dickinson, Executive Editor

The number of cancers associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV) are on the increase, according to just-released CDC statistics, despite the fact that an HPV vaccine exists.

HPV causes cervical cancers, and it also causes some anal, oropharyngeal, penile, rectal cancers, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. There was an average of 38,793 HPV-associated cancers (11.7 per 100,000 persons) each year in the United States from 2008 to 2012, based on information just released by the CDC. The agency says that 28,500 of these cancers were caused by HPV types that can be prevented by the 9-valent HPV vaccine. The disease affects both genders: 23,000 of the HPV-associated cancers were among females, and 15,793 were among males. The numbers are going up. From 2004 to 2008, there were HPV-associated cancers in 10.8 per 100,000 persons.

Routine vaccination is recommended with any of the available HPV vaccines (bivalent, quadrivalent, or 9-valent) for females and quadrivalent or 9-valent for males. Vaccination is recommended for at ages 11–12 years, and it is recommended through age 26 years for females and age 21 years for males, if they weren’t previously vaccinated.

“Full vaccination coverage of the U.S. population could prevent future HPV-attributable cancers and potentially reduce racial and ethnic disparities in HPV-associated cancer incidence,” the CDC says. (To keep up with news on HPV, subscribe to Contraceptive Technology Update.