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What are male HPV-related cancers?

The HPV virus can cause cancers of the penis, anus and the mouth/throat in men. These cancers are uncommon, and most men who get HPV never develop any symptoms.

What are the risk factors for male HPV-related cancers?

As with cervical cancer, the following factors may make it more likely for males to develop HPV-related cancers:

  • Persistent infection with HPV.

  • Smoking: this can increase the likelihood that HPV will persist in the body.

  • Age: as we get older we are at increased risk of male HPV-related cancers.

  • Weakened immune systems: people who are immunocompromised (for example, people with HIV or AIDS, organ transplant recipients, or people who are taking certain medications that suppress the immune system) are at an increased risk of genital HPV infection.
Additionally, some factors increase the risk of HPV-related cancers because they increase the risk of being infected with HPV. The more sexual partners a person has, the higher their risk of contracting different and more types of HPV, which therefore increases risk of HPV-related cancers. However HPV exposure can occur the first time a person is sexually active, and in people who have only had one partner. Earlier age at first intercourse also increases the length of time that people will have had to become infected with HPV. Men who have sex with men are at increased risk of HPV infection and HPV-related disease. The incidence of anal cancer in men who have sex with men is more than 30 times higher than other men.

Condoms offer some, but not total, protection from HPV, as they don't cover all of the genital skin. They do offer protection from many other sexually transmitted infections though.

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Design and partial content reproduced with the kind permission of the New Zealand Ministry of Health.

The HPV vaccine is a prescription medicine. Medicines have benefits and risks. After reading this website, talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of this vaccine and to check eligibility.

Females who have had the HPV vaccine still need regular Cervical Screening Tests.