Presentation on theme: "HPV and Cervical Cancer FAQ. What is cervical cancer? Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix, the part of the uterus or womb that opens to the vagina."— Presentation transcript:
HPV and Cervical Cancer FAQ
What is cervical cancer? Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix, the part of the uterus or womb that opens to the vagina. Before widespread screening using the Pap test began in the 1950's, cervical cancer was the leading cause of cancer death in American women. Today in the United States, the Pap test has helped reduce cervical cancer death rates by 70%. Recent advances in screening and the HPV vaccine could help wipe this disease out.
Burden of Disease Worldwide, cervical cancer affects 490,000 women worldwide annually and causes more than 270,000 deaths per year. 80% of women dying from cervical cancer reside in developing countries where access and availability of vaccines and screening technologies are lacking. In the US, cervical cancer affects more than 11,000 women annually and causes approximately 3,600 deaths per year.
Barriers to Prevention Cervical cancer disproportionately affects minority women and those with lower income because they are less likely to have access to screening and vaccination, which can prevent the disease from occurring. According to a National Cancer Institute survey of 3,000 women, only 40 percent had heard of HPV and less than 50 percent knew of HPV’s link to cervical cancer.
What causes cervical cancer? A virus—the human papillomavirus, or HPV – is the primary cause of cervical cancer. HPV is a common, sexually transmitted virus that usually clears by itself without symptoms or treatment. Approximately 80 percent of adults will have HPV at some point in their lives. An HPV infection rarely leads to cervical cancer. In most women, the cells in the cervix return to normal after the body's immune system destroys the HPV infection. There are two types of HPV: "low risk" and "high risk." If a high-risk type of HPV does not clear on its own, it may cause pre-cancerous cells to form. If these abnormal cells are not found and removed, they may become cancer.
Who gets cervical cancer? Most sexually active women have been infected with HPV at some time in their life. Because cervical cancers are caused by HPV, any woman who has sex can get cervical cancer. The women most at risk for the disease are women who have not been screened regularly or at all. Cervical cancer is caused by persistent HPV, which can be diagnosed through screening and then treated before cancer develops. Other risk factors for cervical cancer include smoking and HIV infection.
Does HPV have symptoms? Most people infected with HPV do not have any symptoms. The only way to detect an HPV infection is to test for the virus directly. A Pap test is the only way to tell if a high-risk HPV infection has caused cervical cell changes. Signs of an HPV infection may appear weeks, months, or years after the first infection, which is why regular cervical cancer screening is important.
Can HPV be treated? There is no treatment for HPV. There are treatments for changes in cervical cells, a possible effect of a persistent HPV infection. Women with such changes should discuss treatment options with their doctor.
What are the symptoms of cervical cancer? Cervical cancer or early cervical pre-cancers often have no signs or symptoms. That's why it's important for women to get screened regularly. Early symptoms may include: Unusual discharge from the vagina Blood spots or light bleeding when you're not having your period Bleeding or pain during sex Women with the above symptoms should contact their doctor right away. Finding cervical cancer early means women have a better chance of treating it successfully.
Can cervical cancer be treated? Yes, cervical cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy. Women diagnosed with cervical cancer should discuss treatment options with their doctor to determine the best approach for them.
A FEW THINGS TO REMEMBER Cervical cancer is preventable – regular screening and vaccination are key. Cervical cancer is caused by a common virus – the human papillomavirus, or HPV. Most women will have HPV at some point, but very few will develop cervical cancer. Most HPV infections are temporary and will go away on their own. An HPV infection that does not go away over a period of years might lead to cervical cancer.