Cervical cancer is a type cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix which is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Cervical cancer is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) which is a sexually transmitted infection.
Most of the cervical cancer begin in the cells of transformation zone. These cells do not suddenly change into cancer. Instead, the normal cells gradually develop pre- cancerous changes that turn into cancer.
Let’s have a look at some common myths and facts of cervical cancer:
- Myth: Pap test should be done every year.
Fact: A Pap smear, also called a Pap test, is a procedure to test for cervical cancer in women. If your Pap test and HPV test are both normal then there is no need to get a Pap test every year.
Following are some guidelines for Pap test:
Ages 21-29: Pap test every 3 years
Ages 30-64: Pap test and HPV test every 5 years
Ages 65 and older: Consult your doctor about whether you need to continue for any test or not
- Myth: HPV only affects people who have multiple partners
Fact: Many people think that they do not require HPV vaccine or Pap test as it affects people who have multiple partners. But, it is not like that. HPV infection is widespread, it affects 80% of men and women approximately.
- Myth: HPV infection gets clear on its own.
Fact: Mostly, HPV infection clears up on its own without ever knowing they were exposed. However, if left untreated, then the infection can persist and can lead to serious health problems like genital warts and many types of cancer.
- Myth: Women with cervical cancer can not have a baby
Fact:During cervical cancer treatment patients undergo a hysterectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy to the pelvic area which may affect fertility. But now with the advancements in medical science, new treatment options are available that enable the doctor to spare patients’ fertility so they can become parents. Doctors can use assisted reproductive technologies to freeze eggs, and they can surgically move the ovaries out of the radiation field to save them from any harm.
- Myth: Cervical cancer is hereditary.
Fact:Cervical cancer is not hereditary like other cancer. It is caused by HPV infection. HPV vaccine can prevent your child from this infection. If you are too old to get HPV vaccine, then make sure you get regular HPV and Pap tests.
- Myth: If you have HPV, you will develop cervical cancer.
Fact:There are nearly 100 type of HPV virus. Many HPV viruses gets clear by its own.. Only in some cases it does not clear from the body and cause abnormal cell changes in the cervix that you can not see or feel.
- Myth: Screening is not required if you don’t have symptoms
Fact: A screening test is done to find out abnormal changes in the body. When there are symptoms, then the diagnostic test is done to find out the cause of the symptoms. An abnormal cervical cell does not cause any symptoms earlier, but they can be detected during the screening. Therefore, screening test should be done according to guidelines.
If you have any queries about cervical cancer, contact Dr. Sumit Shah. He is one of the best cancer specialists in Pune and provides holistic cancer treatment including screening test.