How Does HPV Cause Cervical Cancer?

HPV or Human Papilloma Virus is the reason behind most cases of cervical cancer. HPV infections are contracted through sexual contact and hence women of all ages who are sexually active have chances of developing cervical cancer. It is only that some are more susceptible to the disease and others have powerful immune system that can fight the disease naturally and prevent its occurrence.

Out of the hundreds of HPV strands, only a few of them cause cervical cancer and they are categorised as ‘high risk’. Women who have STDs like Chlamydia and HIV are more at risk of developing cervical cancer. How do we know whether we have HPV infection?

How To Detect HPV Infection

There is no specific way of detecting HPV in your body unless you go in for a Pap smear. A Pap smear can detect abnormal changes inside the cervix that are caused by Human Papilloma virus that can later develop into cervical cancer. At this stage of detection, cervical cancer is completely treatable through non invasive methods which help women to bear children after the procedure.

Most women who have multiple sex partners and do not use condoms during intercourse have chances of contracting HPV and must go for Pap smear and pelvic examination to rule out abnormal cell changes due to HPV infection. As HPV infection does not have any symptoms unless it develops into cancer and reaches its advanced stages, all women must be on guard against the virus.

Cervical Cancer Caused By HPV

Human Papilloma Virus can be transmitted from one person to another through sexual intercourse and oral sex. The virus is capable of living in the larynx and genital area of human beings. In most cases, the virus does not cause any problem as the body’s immune system fights if off. It is only when the virus causes abnormal responses in the cervix that it becomes a threat to your life.

Regular Pap smears can help the doctor detect the virus early on and destroy its action in the cervix. Left undetected, Human Papilloma Virus will cause the cells inside the cervix to cause abnormal reactions and develop into cancer.

Prevention Of HPV Infection And Cervical Cancer

The most important thing to do if you want to stay clear of cervical cancer is to go for regular gynaecological checkups and get an annual Pap smear done. For women who have never had sexual contact, a vaccination is available for protecting your body against 4 high risk varieties of Human Papilloma Virus and also four low risk varieties that can cause genital warts and other difficulties.

The vaccination comes in 3 shots which are administered in a span of six months. However, one must be aware that cervical cancer is not caused only by Human Papilloma Virus. A number of lifestyle and diet factors must be taken into consideration as well and this is why women who have been vaccinated still get cervical cancer in some cases.

Others strands of HPV for which the vaccination does not offer protection may also be the reason for developing cervical cancer. It is therefore very important to continue your annual Pap smears if HPV has caused abnormal cell changes and check if the immunity is able to fight it off effectively. If not, treatment needs to be undertaken to destroy the abnormal cells before it turns cancerous.