Geographic variation of HPV-associated cancer incidence in Kentucky using spatial scan statistics

Skylar Trott, Feitong Lei, W. Jay Christian, Xihua Mao, Ben Lehmkuhl, Alexandra Kejner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Populations with high cancer risk that are targeted for screening, education, and vaccination have been shown to increase rates of screening, which ultimately may improve timing of diagnosis and overall outcome for certain cancers. Spatial scan analysis provides a visual representation of areas with higher rates of disease. Limited research has used this methodology to assess HPV-associated cancers. Using, spatial scan statistics, our goal was to identify regions within Kentucky having significantly higher rates of HPV-associated tumors. These regions can be targeted for public health efforts in the form of education, vaccination, screening, and physician recruitment. Methods: The Kentucky Cancer Registry data from 1995 to 2016 and spatial scan statistics were used to identify county-level clusters with high-incidence of HPV-associated cancers after adjustment for age and sex. Anatomic sites included in this analysis were oropharynx, cervix, anus, penis, and vulva. Results: There was one high-rate cluster of oropharyngeal cancer, which was observed in the Louisville metropolitan region (Relative Risk [RR] = 1.24, p < 0.001). One high-rate cluster of anal and penile cancer incidence in men was identified that partially overlapped with the oropharyngeal cluster. There were five clusters of higher cervical, vulvar, and anal cancer incidence in females, one of which overlapped with the oropharyngeal cluster. Conclusion: Overlapping clusters of HPV-associated cancers were identified at the county-level and included both urban and rural counties of Kentucky. Findings can assist in the design of public health interventions to increase screenings, promote vaccination, and recruit physicians in these regions to improve prevention, diagnosis, and early treatment of HPV-associated cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-824
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2024.


  • HPV-associated cancer
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Preventative health
  • Spatial scan analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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