HPV and Cervical Cancer

Learn more about the facts of HPV and its relation to cervical cancer.

There are at least 100 types of human papillomavirus or HPV. Approximately 70 of these can cause genital infections, like warts in the sensitive areas of the body, and hands, while 30 of these can cause serious cancer for both men and women. HPV is transmitted through human contact specifically through sexual intercourse. Most of the victims of HPV are those who are sexually active and have had sexual relationships with the same sex.

HPV and Cervical Cancer Risk

As compared to the male population, women are more prone to HPVs primarily because the virus attacks the genital areas and stays in the cervix causing cervical cancer. What is unfortunate in these cases is the cervical cancer cannot be detected until it is already in the latter phase of the disease and the cancer cells are already full blown. Medically speaking, HPVs are harmless until it gets in contact with the human body and starts its culturization inside. If a person reaches the age of 30, her body reacts significantly due to the sudden change of lifestyle, like decreased physical activities, and changes in food diet. Take note that this is only applicable to those with inactive lifestyle although there are rare cases of cervical cancers that occur to an individual due to her genetic makeup.

Cervical cancer is among the leading causes of death in women for the past two decades. About 4,000 fatalities are recorded each year in the United States alone and majority of these are diagnosed in the latter stage of the disease making it impossible to cure. There are different causes of cervical cancer: it can be hereditary, due to a toxic lifestyle, or an immune virus that weakens the immune system making the body vulnerable to serious illnesses. Thus, the World Health Organization strongly advises women in Canada, the United States, Europe, Australia, and other hot areas in Asia and Africa to have themselves vaccinated against HPV.

HPV Vaccines and Testing

HPV vaccines are available for women according to age. Those who were not able to have complete post-natal vaccines are advised to have the HPV shots as early as 9 or 11 years old or when the menstrual period begins. There are also vaccines intended for 16 to 18 years old and 21 to 28 years old. Getting the HPV shot is an effective protection against cervical cancer. There are two major types of HPV vaccines available in the market today: Gardasil and Cervarix. These two have been tested for their efficacy to protect the person from cancer-inducing viruses such as HPV. However, it is not guaranteed that such protection can still be effective until the late adult stage of life.

This is exactly the reason for doctors and experts to highly recommend women to undergo HPV testing to ensure that acquired HPVs are not positive to cervical cancer. Women ages 30 and up are advised to conduct immediate appointment with their gynecologist to be examined for cervical cancer. Usual pre-laboratory routines, such as emptying the bladder and using tampons for vaginal discharges, are done to avoid patient discomfort during the examination.