If you have recently been diagnosed with HPV and want to do everything you can to avoid developing cervical cancer in the coming years, it's important to be aware that there are many different types of HPV. Since they don't all cause cervical cancer and some strands are more likely to cause that illness than other strands, being pro-active with your screenings and complying with the advice of your health care provider is essential. Therefore, you're likely to benefit from having the facts shared below.
HPV, or the human papillomavirus, is a virus that is often passed from one person to another through sexual contact. It's very common and it has been estimated that there are more than 100 different types of HPV. However, many of those strands of HPV are not associated with cancer and some are much less likely than others to cause that issue.
It can be contracted upon first sexual contact and can remain dormant for years before becoming a problem. In addition, males can contract, carry and spread HPV. Therefore, annual exams with PAP tests are recommended for every woman, even if she has had the same sexual partner for many years. The HPV diagnosis puts you at a higher risk of cervical cancer and your future preventative care, including your gynecological screenings, may need to be accessed more often.
Correcting The Errors About HPV
Given that HPV and the risks it's associated with have been discussed extensively through the media, schools, medical facilities, etc. in recent years, more people know about it now than they used to. However, there is still a lot of information that is not known by the general public.
For instance, it can be shocking to learn that even though, as mentioned above, males can contract, carry and spread HPV, there is not yet a conclusive test for them to take to be diagnosed with it. Males often need to be diagnosed due to their physical symptoms, in lieu of blood tests, skin tests, and other diagnostic techniques. In addition, the problems stemming from HPV infections in women can be treated, but there is nothing that can actually be done to address asymptomatic HPV.
If Your HPV Turns Into An Early Cancer
The majority of primary care health care providers and OB/GYNs can diagnose HPV. However, if your exam shows symptoms of cancer or pre-cancerous lesions, you need to consult with an oncologist. Several treatment options exist and your oncologist will make recommendations as to the most appropriate option for you based on the stage of your cancer. He or she might also consider your extenuating circumstances when making those recommendations, such as whether or not you want to have children.
For instance, if you are diagnosed with cervical cancer at a very early stage of its development known as Stage 0, simply freezing or lasering the affected cells away might be sufficient. Alternatively, those cells might be removed with a very thin and precisely placed electrical loop. Those options are also used as a type of pre-cancerous treatment for suspicious cells that are not yet cancerous.
If you cervical cancer has advanced to a Stage 1 or higher and you want to have children, your oncologist might suggest the use of a cone biopsy. It is generally for women who want to maintain their fertility and requires the removal of a section of cons-sized tissue. It might be coupled with the removal and dissection of one or more lymph nodes in the pelvic region to evaluate whether or not the cancerous cells are contained. If the cells remain contained, your fertility can often be preserved.
If they have spread, your doctor might need to discuss more invasive options that can impact your ability to bear children. Partial or full hysterectomies might be needed, with radiation and chemotherapy also being common treatment options to save your life.
In conclusion, HPV is a significant factor for cervical cancer and as such, impacts the lives and the fertility of many women every year. If you have recently been diagnosed with HPV and want to do everything possible to stay healthy and fertile in the coming years, it is crucial for you to be aware of the information discussed above.
Contact a center like Oncology MDS to learn more.