Human Papiloma Virus and Cervical Cancer

Human Papilloma Viruses can be of many types and are normally present in the vagina of many women. In most cases, the body’s defense mechanism is successfully able to counter act against any HPV infections.

Having said that, HPV accounts for almost all of the cervical cancers. The danger behind an HPV infection is that it is generally devoid of symptoms, until the infection progresses to an advanced stage.

Approximately 30 types of Human papilloma viruses cause genital warts, which are visible only in one percent of the total, infected cases. However, it has been found that out of the 60 types of HPVs, only about 10 are responsible for cervical cancer.

Types 16, 18, 31, 33, and 35 belong to the high-risk oncogenic category of HPVs with type 16 and 18 accounting for 70% of the cervical cancers.

Frequent HPV infections could be indicative of cervical cancer, which affects half a million of the female population every year and claims the lives of a quarter million. HPV infections can lead to cancer of the anus, vulva and vagina, penis and or pharyngeal cancer in some cases.

Detecting carcinogenic HPV

Testing cervical cancer causing HPV is challenging. A pap smear can only detect abnormal cells in the cervix, which may or may not develop into cervical cancer. A Pap smear test can identify high-risk types of HPV cells present in the cervix by collecting cells from the cervix for lab tests.

However, it’s heartening to know that most of the HPV infections are expelled by the body’s defense mechanism and many do not develop into cancer even if they are not removed from the cervix.

Prevention

Abstaining from sex is the best way to avoid contracting HPV. If sexually active, practicing monogamy can lessen the risk provided that your partner is not infected. The use of a condom can lower the risk of HPV as it offers some sort of protection from the virus getting transferred to the cervix.

HPV vaccines that are available now offer more than 95% protection from Human Papiloma Virus if administered before becoming sexually active.

Cure

Unfortunately, HPV infections do not have a sure and safe medical cure. However, certain treatments like Cryosurgery and Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure can be used for treating the abscesses and warts associated with HPV infection. Surgery too is an option to cure some cases of HPV infection.

Human Papiloma Virus infection is a serious condition leading to cervical cancer if left untreated. Spreading awareness worldwide has become an utmost necessity to save millions of women and men who are at risk.