Both the number of cases of anal cancer and deaths from the disease have been on the rise in the United States since 2001, according to a new study. The increases have been especially rapid in young African American men, as well as among all adults over the age of 50. From 2001 to 2015, the overall incidence of anal cancer increased by 2.7% per year and mortality jumped by 3.1% each year, according to the study, published November 19 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Despite these increases, anal cancer is “still quite rare in the population,” explained Meredith Shiels, Ph.D., of NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), a coauthor on the study. Most cases of anal cancer are caused by infection with human papillomavirus (HPV). A vaccine to prevent HPV infection has been available since 2006, but the cancers seen in this study reflect HPV infections acquired before the vaccine was available. Higher vaccine uptake than has been achieved to date is needed to reverse the rise of anal cancer incidence and mortality, said Ashish Deshmukh, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston, who led the study.