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HPV and other cancers


There are also non-cervical cancers linked to human papillomavirus (HPV). About 1 in 20 of all cancers are related to the virus. Most are linked to high-risk HPV types 16 and 18. These are the same types that cause 7 in 10 of all cervical cancers.

If you have had high-grade cervical cell changes (abnormal cells) or cervical cancer, you have a higher risk of getting different HPV-related cell changes or an HPV-related cancer. We understand this can be worrying, so it may help to speak with your doctor about any concerns.

Read more about HPV >

Read more about cervical cell changes >

Read more about cervical cancer >


Other cancers linked to high-risk HPV

Not every case of the cancers listed below is caused by high-risk HPV. But some are linked to the virus — usually HPV 16 or 18.

Genital area

 Non-genital areas


Other cell changes linked to high-risk HPV

Just like in the cervix, HPV can cause cell changes in the vagina, vulva, anus and penis. It is possible that they may develop into cancer. They are called:

Sometimes these cell changes can go away by themselves. If they do not, and they are left untreated, they might turn into cancer.



There are no screening programmes in the UK for non-cervical cell changes or non-cervical cancers linked to high-risk HPV. We understand this can be worrying, so it is important to talk to your doctor if you notice changes to other areas of your body that are unusual for you.


More information and support

It may be upsetting to hear that high-risk HPV is linked to some other cell changes and cancers. If you have any symptoms or are concerned, it is important to speak with your doctor.

There are also expert organisations that can provide more information, advice and support:

Cancer Research UK (CRUK)

Cancer Research UK provide easy to read information on HPV and the cancers it is linked to.

Find out more at Cancer Research UK >

The Eve Appeal

The Eve Appeal fund ground-breaking research and raise awareness of gynaecological cancers.

Find out more at The Eve Appeal >

Anal Cancer Foundation

Anal Cancer Foundation provides information and support resources for people with anal cancer and their caregivers, as well as scientists and healthcare professionals.

Find out more at Anal Cancer Foundation >

Macmillan Cancer Support

Macmillan Cancer Support offers support services and produces independent, expert, up-to-date information for people affected by cancer.

Find out more at Macmillan Cancer Support >

Mouth Cancer Foundation

Mouth Cancer Foundation is a charity dedicated to helping people with mouth, throat and other head and neck cancers, as well as their caregivers.

Find out more at Mouth Cancer Foundation >


Orchid is a charity dedicated to supporting those affected by testicular, penile and prostate cancer.

Find out more at Orchid >


We would like to thank all the experts who checked the accuracy of this information, and the volunteers who shared their personal experience to help us develop it.


  • Della Fera AN, et al. 2021. Persistent Human Papillomavirus Infection. Viruses. 13(2):321.
  • de Martel C, et al. 2020. Global burden of cancer attributable to infections in 2018: a worldwide incidence analysis. Lancet Glob Health. 8(2):e180–e190.
  • Preti M, et al. 2020. Risk of HPV-related extra-cervical cancers in women treated for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. BMC Cancer. 20(1):972.
  • Loopik DL, et al. 2020. The relative risk of noncervical high-risk human papillomavirus-related (pre)malignancies after recurrent cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3: A population-based study. Int J Cancer. 47(3):897–900.
  • Liu Y, et al. 2019. Current strategies against persistent human papillomavirus infection (Review). Int J Oncol. 55(3):570–584.
  • de Martel C, et al. 2017. Worldwide burden of cancer attributable to HPV by site, country and HPV type. Int J Cancer. 141(4):664–670.


We write our information based on literature searches and expert review. For more information about the references we used, please contact [email protected]

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Date last updated: 
15 May 2023
Date due for review: 
15 May 2026
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