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HPV and Cervical Cancer: What You Need to Know

HPV and Cervical Cancer: What You Need to Know

BY DSS Imagetech Pvt Ltd 1st November 2023

HPV and Cervical Cancer: What You Need to Know.

Sexually transmitted diseases are getting common in today’s time. One such sexually transmitted infection is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to a variety of health issues, including cervical cancer. Now, cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent disease in women globally, and it claims a large number of lives each year. Despite this, many individuals are unaware of the relationship between HPV and cervical cancer, as well as the actions they may take to lower their chances of getting both diseases. This blog will provide you with an overview of everything you need to know about HPV and cervical cancer, covering symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and preventive strategies.

What is HPV and how is it transmitted?
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually-transmitted disease caused by a viral family that includes over 150 viruses. Though many persons with HPV have no symptoms or health problems, certain types of HPV can cause genital warts or malignancies such as cervical carcinoma, anal cancer, and throat cancer.

HPV is spread by sexual contact, which includes vaginal, anal, and oral intercourse. It can be spread from person to person even if there are no apparent indications of illness. Condoms can minimize the chance of HPV transmission, however, they do not provide total protection because the virus can still be spread through genital skin-to-skin contact.

HPV may disappear on its own in certain circumstances without producing any health consequences. However, if the virus continues, it might cause unusual cell changes that can progress to cancer. As a result, it’s critical to obtain frequent screenings and get medical assistance if you detect any symptoms or shifts in your body.

 

Understanding the link between HPV and cervical cancer
Certain forms of HPV, notably types 16 and 18, are significantly associated with cervical cancer. A great deal of cervical cancer cases is caused by these kinds of HPV. When a person becomes infected with HPV, the virus can alter the cells of the cervix, which is the bottom section of the uterus that attaches to the vagina. If left untreated, these alterations can range from minor to severe and could ultimately lead to the development of cervical cancer.

Though not all women who are infected with HPV will develop cervical cancer, individuals who have chronic HPV infections or particular high-risk strains of the virus are at a much greater risk.

Symptoms and diagnosis of HPV and cervical cancer
HPV and cervical cancer signs and diagnosis are as follows:

Symptoms of HPV:

  • Many persons with HPV exhibit no symptoms and may be unaware that they have the virus.
  • HPV can produce genital warts in certain situations, which appear as tiny lumps or clusters of lesions on the genitals or anus. These can be flesh-colored, pink, or grey in hue, and they can be flat or elevated.
  • HPV can also induce aberrant alterations in cervix cells, which can progress into cervical cancer.

Symptoms of cervical cancer:

  • In the beginning stages of cervical cancer, there might be no symptoms at all.
  • Women may suffer atypical vaginal bleeding as the cancer advances, such as bleeding between periods, after intercourse, or after menopause.
  • Pelvic pain or discomfort, pain during sex, and atypical vaginal discharge are all indications of cervical cancer.

Diagnosis:

A Pap smear or HPV test, which includes taking cells from the cervix during a pelvic exam and submitting them to a lab for testing, can be used to identify HPV. Cervical cancer is often detected with a combination of a Pap smear, HPV test, and biopsy, which requires removing a tiny sample of tissue from the cervix and examining it under a microscope.

How to reduce your risk of HPV and cervical cancer

You can minimize your risk of HPV and cervical cancer by doing the following steps:

  • Obtain a vaccination: The HPV vaccination is extremely effective against the kinds of HPV that can cause cervical cancer. The vaccination is advised for both boys and girls beginning at the age of 11 or 12 and can be administered up to the age of 45.
  • Use condoms and other barriers during sex: Because HPV is usually transmitted via sexual contact, wearing condoms and other barriers during sex can minimize your chance of catching the virus. Condoms, however, are not 100% effective in preventing HPV because the virus can also be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.
  • Regular Pap smears and/or HPV testing can aid in the detection of abnormal cells in the cervix before they grow into cancer. The American Cancer Society advises that women start receiving Pap screenings at the age of 21, or earlier if they are sexually active.
  • Maintain proper hygiene: Keeping the genital area clean and dry can aid in the prevention of the formation of germs and viruses such as HPV. Douching should be avoided since it might upset the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina and raise the risk of infection.

Treatment options for HPV and cervical cancer

The treatment choices for HPV and cervical cancer are determined by the disease’s stage and location, as well as the patient’s general well-being and preferences. Here are some HPV and cervical cancer therapy options:

HPV:

  • Most HPV infections do not need treatment and will resolve on their own within two years.
  • Genital warts caused by the HPV virus can be treated using topical medicines, freezing, or surgery.

Cervical cancer:

  • Surgery is the most often used therapy for early-stage cervical cancer, and it may entail removing the malignant tissue, the whole cervix, or the uterus and surrounding tissues.
  • Radiation therapy: High-energy radiation is used to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors. It can be used on its own or in conjunction with surgery or chemotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy is the employment of chemicals to destroy cancer cells all throughout the body. It can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments like radiation therapy or surgery.
  • Targeted treatment: Targeted therapy medications are meant to selectively target cancer cells and may be used in conjunction with chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

To decide the best treatment option for you, consult with a healthcare specialist who specializes in gynecologic cancer. Treatment can be difficult, requiring a variety of treatments to produce the greatest results.

How you can raise awareness and make a difference

Raising knowledge about HPV and cervical cancer is a crucial step towards avoiding these diseases and improving reproductive health overall. Talking to your family and friends, engaging in neighborhood activities, volunteering with advocacy organizations, posting information on social media, becoming active in public policy, and funding research are all ways to make a difference and increase awareness.

You can help raise awareness and make a difference in the fight against cervical cancer and HPV by starting a conversation about these conditions, volunteering your time and talents, sharing information on social media, advocating for public policy changes, and donating to organizations that fund cervical cancer and HPV research.

Summing up
Cervical cancer and HPV are important health concerns that demand increased knowledge and care. While these illnesses are worrisome, keep in mind that there are actions you can take to minimize your risks, such as frequent screenings, HPV vaccination, and safer sexual practices. If you have been diagnosed with HPV or cervical cancer, it is critical that you obtain the necessary assistance and treatment to manage your illness and stay healthy. We can all strive towards a world where HPV and cervical cancer are no longer important public health concerns by remaining informed, getting checked frequently, and lobbying for more awareness and prevention initiatives. Let us continue increasing awareness, taking action, and helping people affected by these problems in order to build a better future.

DSS Imagetech Pvt Ltd


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