About this presentation This presentation is intended to help women take an active role in their health care. It does not replace the judgment of a health care professional in diagnosing and treating disease. Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
What is cervical cancer? Cervical Cancer is a serious, life-threatening disease.
What is cervical cancer? Cervical cancer is a serious disease Every day in the U.S., about 10 women die from cervical cancer. The good news is that you don’t have to be one of these women. There are steps you can take to help protect yourself against getting cervical cancer. We are going to take about an hour today to talk about cervical cancer. I will share some information with you and also leave lots of time for you to ask questions. All of us agree to make this conversation confidential.
Cervical cancer is caused by a virus, called HPV. HPV stands for Human Papillomavirus. HPV is very common. About eight out of ten women will get HPV by the time they are 50 years old. Most HPV infections clear up on their own. Your body’s immune system fights off the virus without you ever being aware that you have the infection.
What is HPV? Source: iStockphoto Normal cell Virus
What is HPV? There are more than 100 different kinds of HPV. Some types of HPV cause the warts you get Some cause genital warts. Some invade the cervix. The cervical HPV types, called high risk, are the ones that can cause cervical cancer.
No. HPV is not the same virus as HIV. HIV causes AIDS. HPV does not. HPV is not the same as Herpes. They are different viruses that cause different diseases. HPV is also different from a yeast infection. Having a yeast infection does not mean that you have HPV. The only thing that all these infections have in common is that they all may involve the genital area.
The types of HPV that cause cervical cancer are spread through genital contact. Genital contact means touching skin in the genital area, not only intercourse. It is considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI). HPV is not spread by toilet seats or mouth to mouth kissing or holding hands.
What happens if HPV stays in your body? Sometimes the HPV stays in your body over a longer period of time and starts to cause changes in your cervix. These cervix changes can take a long time, usually more than one year to up to ten years. When these changes are small, they can be removed before any serious problems start. A Pap test shows these changes. If the changes are not treated, they can grow and can become cancer. That is why it is so important to get regular Pap tests.
In the early stages of infection, HPV usually does not have any signs or symptoms. When symptoms do show up, it has most likely already grown into invasive cancer. The only way to tell if you have the early stages of HPV infection is to see your healthcare provider to have regular Pap tests. These early changes can be treated before they turn into cancer.
The symptoms of cervical cancer are: o Unusual discharge from the vagina o Blood spots or light bleeding when you’re not having your period o Bleeding after menopause o Bleeding or pain during sex If you have any of these symptoms or any other problems, see your healthcare provider right away. You can have these symptoms for other reasons than cervical cancer, but you should always check out these symptoms with your healthcare provider.
How can I help protect myself against cervical cancer?
Talk to your healthcare provider about the right steps to you to take to help protect yourself against cervical cancer. Get vaccinated early. Vaccines that prevent seven out of ten HPV infections that cause cervical cancer are available for girls and women ages 9 -26. Get regular Pap tests as recommended by your healthcare provider. Testing can catch early cell changes before they become cancer, when they are easier to treat. An HPV test is also available and can help your healthcare provider decide the right treatment if you have a long-lasting infection. Use condoms.
What can you tell me about vaccination against cervical cancer?
The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and many other healthcare groups recommend that girls and women ages 9-26 get vaccinated. The cervical cancer vaccines are given as a 3-shot series that takes about 6 months to complete. The side effects may include soreness in the arm at the injection site, headache, and/or dizziness. Talk to your healthcare provider about any side effects.
Why is vaccination against cervical cancer recommended for girls so young?
Vaccination against cervical cancer is recommended by the CDC for girls 11and 12, at the time of the 5th – 6th grade back-to-school physical. Vaccination against cervical cancer works best when given before a girl has started having any sexual activity.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recently changed its guidelines about how often to get Pap tests. The Pap test is designed to find early changes on the cervix that can go on to cause cervical cancer. Talk to your healthcare provider about the right Pap test schedule for you. You should still see your healthcare provider for a check-up every year. The Pap test has been used for over 50 years in the U.S. and has dramatically reduced cervical cancer. Most women who get cervical cancer haven’t had a Pap test in the last 5 years.
What questions might my healthcare provider ask?
Your healthcare provider may ask questions about your health, your periods, your sexual partners. Answer his or her questions honestly. It is important to answer questions as completely as possible. Your provider will keep your information private. She needs this information to help you decide the care that is best for you. You can also ask your healthcare provider questions. Find out how you will be told the results of your Pap test. Ask questions about what the results mean. Make sure you get answers to your questions.
How often should I get a Pap test? Current cervical cancer screening guidelines recommend: Women should not be screened before age 21 Women 21-29 should be screened with the Pap test alone every 3 years. HPV testing should not be used for screening in this age group For women 30 and over, the preferred approach is the Pap test plus HPV testing every 5 years Screening is not recommended for women over age 65 who have had at least 3 consecutive Pap tests or at least 2 negative HPV test the last 10 years, with the most recent test in the last 5 years Note: These guidelines are not intended for women with a history of cervical cancer, exposure to DES in utero, or women who are immunosuppressed (e.g. HIV positive).
Abnormal pap test How common is it? Get Tested! 11,000 cancers 300,000 high-risk precancers 1.25 million low-risk dysplasia, low-risk cervical changes 2-3 million abnormal pap tests, reasons unknown 50-60 million women screened Every year in the US...
Abnormal pap test How common is it? Every year 50-60 million women in the U.S. will have a Pap test. More than 2 million of them will have a low-risk, abnormal result from an unknown cause. 1.25 million of them will have low-grade cervical changes that most likely will clear up on their own. 300,000 will have a high-grade, more advanced pre-cancerous condition. 11,000 will have cervical cancer. 3,800 will die from cervical cancer.
Can you tell me more about the HPV test? Get Tested!
Can you tell me more about the HPV test? Get Tested! There is a test for HPV. Current screening guidelines recommend that for women 30 and over, the preferred approach is the Pap test plus HPV testing every 5 years for women over 30. It can be given at the same time as the Pap test using the same or another swab. This test can provide additional information to help your healthcare provider decide if you have a high risk HPV and, if so, what kind of treatment, if any, you should have.
How can I help lower my risk of getting cervical cancer? Get Tested!
How can I help lower my risk of getting cervical cancer? There are several steps you can take that may help lower your chances of getting HPV and Cervical Cancer o Get vaccinated o Get regular Pap and HPV tests o If you are not a smoker, don’t start. o If you are a smoker, quit. o Eat nutritious foods o Limit your sexual activity to one partner who has sex only with you o Use a condom every time
How can HPV affect pregnancy? The types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer have not been found to cause problems for babies. You can get pregnant if you have an HPV infection. If your Pap test is abnormal during pregnancy, your healthcare provider may want you to have more tests. An abnormal Pap result during pregnancy is usually handled in a more “hands off” way than an abnormal Pap result when not pregnant. Necessary treatment may be deferred until you are no longer pregnant. Vaccination against cervical cancer is not recommended if you are pregnant, thinking about becoming pregnant soon or are nursing.