HPV-related cancers often take years to develop after getting an HPV infection.
Cervical cancer usually develops over 10 or more years.
There can be a long interval between being infected with HPV, the development of abnormal cells on the cervix and the development of cervical cancer. This is why women who already have HPV can receive normal Pap test results.
Around 1 in 100 women who have a Pap test will have high-grade abnormalities on the cervix.
Some but not all women with high-grade abnormalities on the cervix will develop cervical cancer if they are not treated.
The progression of anal cancer in men and women is thought to be similar to the progression from HPV infection to cervical cancer.