The HPV Cervical Cancer Connection

July 22, 2018

Twenty-four million Americans might have the human papillomavirus (HPV), however more than 76 percent of women in the United States have never heard of this sexually transmitted virus that causes virtually 100 percent of cervical cancers.

Researchers have found over sixty kinds of the human papillomavirus virus. Visible genital warts occur in just approximately one percent of sexually active adults infected with the HPV virus, though other types of HPV are subclinical infections.

The kinds of HPVs that cause genital warts aren’t associated with increased cancer risks and are brought on by HPV types 6 and 11. HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, and 35 are connected to cervical cancer. These high-risk HPVs may also be linked to elevated risk of cancers of the vulva, anus, and bladder.

What Are the Symptoms of HPV and Genital Warts?

Many times, unless genital warts are situated in a spot where you could see or sense them, you might not know you’re infected. Genital warts occasionally go undetected because they are within the anus, around the cervix, or at the anus.

HPV is frequently difficult to discover because genital warts tend to be skin-colored and painless, and rarely causes symptoms. You should consult your doctor anytime you notice unusual growths, bumps, or other skin anomalies, in addition to in the event that you experience itching, pain, or abnormal bleeding.

Diagnosing HPV

Genital warts or HPV viruses are sometimes detected during your annual GYN examinationnonetheless, the Pap smear is not a screening instrument for HPV or any other STD or infection.

Although most HPVs don’t progress to cancer, it’s particularly important for women diagnosed with HPVs to have routine Pap smears.

Though the Pap smear is not designed to detect HPV (only abnormal cervical changes) abnormal changes may signal HPV infection or another vaginal infection. Your doctor will dictate either a follow-up screening process like a colposcope or follow you closely to detect any additional cervical changes when abnormal Pap results are available.

If your Pap smear result suggests dysplasia, it’s essential to note that cervical dysplasia doesn’t imply cervical cancer. But, cervical dysplasia is thought to be a precursor condition for carcinoma in situ (CIS) and invasive cancer of the cervix. Many instances of dysplasia regress over time as well as the factors that result in progression to invasive cervical cancer remain unclear.

In CIS, an outer coating of ordinary cells is replaced by cancer cells. CIS is roughly 95 percent treatable and curable. Invasive cancer of the cervix occurs when cancer cells invade the underlying cells of the cervix. CIS generally occurs in women between 25 and 34, while invasive cancer of the cervix primarily occurs in women over the age of fifty.

The prognosis for invasive cervical cancer is mainly determined by the extent of disease at the time of first diagnosis. The present death rate for cervical cancer remains higher than it should be due to the roughly one-third of girls who don’t have regular annual Pap smears. An astounding 90 percent of cervical cancer deaths can be eliminated through earlier detection with the Pap smear.

How Is HPV Treated?

Treating HPV is often hard and frustrating for both the patient and doctor.

Remedy of visible genital warts for the ordinary patient frequently requires several treatments before symptoms subside. These treatments aren’t cures. After treatment, the virus can remain in nearby skin and lie dormant for weeks or even years prior to becoming observable, and in some cases, visible warts never reunite.

The CDC recommends treatments of observable HPV genital warts which vary from patient-applied treatments like podofilox and imiquimod to provider-administered therapies such as cryotherapy, podophyllin resin, trichloroacetic acid (TCA), bicholoracetic acid (BCA), interferon, and operation.

Preventing HPV, Preventing Cervical Cancer

Because we are aware that the kind of HPV virus with no genital warts is the cause of cervical cancer, and there is not any treatment for this type of HPV, prevention of HPV is an integral factor in the prevention of cervical cancer. Preventing HPV includes the same recommendations as for prevention of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), specifically meticulous condom use by sexually active individuals that are not in long-term monogamous relationships.

Limiting the number of sexual partners you have in your lifetime might also be a substantial component in the prevention of HPV and the associated increased risk of cervical cancer (evidence suggests that people with multiple sexual partners have a higher prevalence of HPV and cervical cancer).

Needless to say, if a sexual partner tells you that he/she has HPV, genital warts, or any other STD, see your doctor immediately.