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Cervical cancer isn’t the only cancer type linked to high-risk HPV. Worldwide, about 5% of all cancers are linked to the virus. Most are linked to high-risk HPV types 16 and 18 – the same types of HPV that cause 70% of all cervical cancers.
If you have had high-grade cervical cell changes (abnormal cells) in the past, you have a higher risk of developing a different type of HPV-related change or cancer. This risk is small, but we know it can be worrying, so it may help to be aware of symptoms and speak with your doctor about any concerns.
Not every case of the cancers listed below is caused by high-risk HPV. But at least some cases are linked to the virus – usually HPV 16 or HPV 18.
Just like cervical cancer, vaginal, vulval, anal and penile cancer have precancerous stages – cell changes (abnormal cells) that can develop into cancer:
Sometimes these cell changes go back to normal without treatment. If they do not and are left untreated, they may develop into cancer. This is why it's important to be aware of the symptoms.
There are no screening programmes for these cell changes. This is because it is more difficult to find them than it is to find cervical cell changes. This can be worrying, so it is important to be aware of the symptoms for these cancers.
For each cancer, look out for these symptoms in the relevant area:
It may be worrying to hear that high-risk HPV is linked to some other cancers. Remember, if you are have any symptoms or are worried about something, it is important to speak with your doctor. There are also some expert organisations that have more information about other cancers linked to high-risk HPV:
Cancer Research UK's pages provide easy to read information on HPV and all of the cancer types it is linked to.
The Eve Appeal fundraises for ground-breaking research focused on the detection, prediction, treatment and care of gynaecological cancers.
The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation aims to educate the public about anal cancer, to address the stigma associated with the disease, to advocate for prevention and improved early screening methods, to provide resources for patients, caregivers and members of the medical community.
Macmillan Cancer Support produces independent, expert, up-to-date information to meet the information needs of people affected by cancer.
The Mouth Cancer Foundation is a professional support organisation solely dedicated to helping people with mouth, throat and other head and neck cancers.
Orchid is the UK’s leading charity working on behalf of anyone affected by or interested in male cancer – prostate, testicular and penile cancer. Orchid exists to save men’s lives from male cancer through a range of support services, education and awareness campaigns and a pioneering research programme.
Call our free helpline now on 0808 802 8000.
Have a chat with our trained helpliners to get your questions answered. Get information on HPV, cervical screening, the HPV vaccine, cell changes (abnormal cells) or cervical cancer. No question is too big or too small.