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HPV and cervical cancer

QUESTION

My doctor discovered Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in my blood. My friend told women with HPV could have cervical cancer. What is connection between women health and HPV? Is there any connection between HPV and cervical cancer?

ANSWER from experts

Don’t panic! Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is sexually transmitted diseases and there are many different types of HPV (over 100 different kinds of viruses) but only few could be risky for cervical cancer.

Many women who become infected with HPV do not even know they have it. It is estimated that as much as 80% of the population is infected with a strain of HPV at some point in their life.

Cervical Cancer

Cervical Cancer

Scientists discovered that some types (such as 6 and 11) cause genital warts, others (such as 16 and 18) cause pre-cancerous changes on the cervix that can later lead to cancer of the cervix. In rare cases, the virus can cause other types of cancers to the vulva, vagina, and anus in girls.

Generally, those infected with HPV, especially low-risk HPV, will experience no complications aside from the possibility of genital warts, which can recur.

At the same time, women who infected with an HPV strain that is considered to be “high-risk” are at a significantly increased risk of developing cervical cancer or some other type of cancer including vulvar cancer and/or anal cancer. High-risk strains of HPV are responsible for almost all cases of cervical cancer.

An abnormal Pap test is often the first sign of a HPV infection. This is why it is important to start Pap tests by the time you are 21 years old. You should start earlier if you have special risks such as problems with your immune system or if you start sexual activities very early (13-15).

HPV - genital warts

HPV – genital warts

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Risk factors for cervical cancer

red check mark very small  Starting to have sex early (before age 18)

red check mark very small  Starting birth control pills early (before age 20)

red check mark very small  Having had many sexual partners

red check mark very small  Being infected with an STI or having had a sex partner who has an STI

red check mark very small  Smoking


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