Cervical cancer is that
HPV can go away on its own without causing problems. In other cases, it can cause symptoms such as genital warts or benign growths, as well as cervical cancer in people with a cervix.
This article examines the link between HPV, sex, and cervical cancer. Cervical cancer prevention options are also discussed.
Cervical cancer is cancer that develops on the cervix or at the bottom of the uterus near the vaginal canal. HPV is believed to be the cause of most cervical cancers.
HPV is most commonly transmitted through intercourse and sexual activity. Therefore, people who have or have had sex are at risk of developing cervical cancer.
People who have had chlamydia infection may also be at higher risk of developing cervical cancer. This is because this STI can promote the growth of HPV. This can lead to cervical cancer developing more quickly.
Some risk factors for cervical cancer are not gender related. For example, female smokers are twice as likely to develop cervical cancer as non-smokers. Research suggests that byproducts of the tobacco product can damage the DNA of cervical cells.
People with weakened immune systems may also be at a higher risk of developing cervical cancer. Causes of a weakened immune system can be:
A weakened immune system can affect your body’s ability to fight off viruses, cancer cells, and tumor growth.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) – a sexually transmitted virus – is believed to cause most cases of cervical cancer. But there are other factors that can increase your risk, such as smoking, a chlamydial infection, and a weakened immune system.
Yes, even if you don’t have sex, you are still at risk of cervical cancer.
HPV cells can live in more areas of the body than the genitals. They are sometimes present in the anus, mouth, and throat. Skin-to-skin contact, for example during oral sex, can transmit the virus. Penetrative sex isn’t the only way to get it transmitted.
If you don’t have sex now but have had sex in the past, you are still at risk of developing cervical cancer from HPV.
HPV doesn’t always cause obvious symptoms like warts. It can persist in the body for years and later develop into abnormal cells on the cervix. These abnormal cells can become cancer.
Finally, people who have never had sexual intercourse or contact, including vaginal, oral, or anal sex, are unlikely to have HPV. However, it is possible to transmit HPV through non-penetrative sexual contact.
Even if you don’t have sex, you are at risk of developing cervical cancer. A doctor can discuss your individual risk factors and determine the best testing plan for you.
It is recommended that people with a cervix, regardless of their sexual history, start a Pap test (also known as a Pap smear) at age 21. People under the age of 21 probably don’t need a Pap test. A Pap smear can also diagnose benign conditions such as infection and inflammation of the cervix.
A Pap smear is a quick, non-invasive test that doesn’t hurt. It only takes a few minutes to complete the procedure.
During a Pap test, a doctor collects cells from your cervix. To do this, they scrape off the end of the uterus with a swab or spatula. The cells are then placed on a slide and sent to a laboratory for examination.
In addition to a Pap smear, an HPV test is another important screening tool for cervical cancer. This test allows your doctor to look for HPV in your cervical cells. HPV can be detected in the cervix about a year after infection.
While a Pap test cannot detect abnormal cells until they have formed, an HPV test may be able to detect the infection before precancerous cell changes have developed. This will allow you and your doctor to monitor your cervix for signs of cancer development.
Even if you aren’t having sex now and have been sexually active in the past, an HPV test would be a helpful screening tool to rule out the presence of HPV in your cervical cells.
An HPV test can be done either alone (known as a primary HPV test) or at the same time as a Pap test (known as a co-test). An additional test will be no different from a normal Pap smear.
In the United States, guidelines for cervical cancer early detection support the primary HPV test alone or the co-test.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) guidelines for early detection of cervical cancer are as follows:
The American Society for Colpososcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP) supports the use of both tests for the early detection of cervical cancer.
Women over 30 with a “normal” or “negative” Pap smear can have a Pap test every 3 years. People with an “abnormal” test result may need to take the test more often.
How often you should take a Pap test depends on several factors, including:
- Your history of Pap test results
- your sexual story
- other risk factors for cervical cancer
It is important to remember that the ACS and other organizations frequently make changes to their cancer screening guidelines. This is why it is important to speak to your doctor about the recommended frequency of testing and what is right for you.
A diagnosis of HPV doesn’t mean you have cervical cancer.
There are numerous subtypes of HPV, but the two most commonly associated with cervical cancer are HPV 16 and 18. Together, these two types of HPV are for
Currently, healthcare professionals recommend HPV vaccination at 11 or 12 years of age. People up to the age of 26 can receive the vaccine on the recommendation of their doctor. However, the vaccine is most effective in people who have not been exposed to HPV.
In addition, the vaccine protects against more than just cervical cancer. It can prevent cancer of the vulva and vagina, penis, anus, mouth, and throat.
In addition to vaccination, the following steps may help reduce your risk of cervical cancer:
- If you smoke, consider quitting. Tobacco use can cause DNA changes in the cells of the cervix. Talk to your doctor about creating a smoking cessation plan to lower your risk of cancer.
- Use protection. Barrier methods like a condom can protect against the virus.
- Test regularly. Pap and HPV tests can find potential cancer cells long before symptoms appear.
HPV, a commonly sexually transmitted virus, is believed to be the main risk factor for cervical cancer. If you are sexually active or have been in the past, you may have contracted HPV.
Penetrative sex isn’t the only way HPV is transmitted, however. It can also be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact during oral sex or other sexual activities.
People who have never had intercourse or any type of sexual encounter are unlikely to have HPV and are at the lowest risk of developing cervical cancer.
In addition to HPV, other factors can increase the risk of cervical cancer, such as smoking, chlamydial infection, and a weakened immune system. Talk to your doctor about your individual risk factors for cervical cancer and how often you should have a Pap or HPV test.