The cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women under 45 years and is the third cause of cancer death in women worldwide after breast cancer and lung cancer. Every year, an estimated 270,000 women worldwide die and 30,000 women at a European level from cervical cancer.
In Europe that a woman dies every 18 minutes from cervical cancer. Moreover, each year 60,000 new cases diagnosed of cervical cancer in Europe and about 600 in Greece, while also estimated that annually 250 Greeks lose their battle with death due to this disease.
Cancer of the cervix caused by a virus, referred to as human papilloma virus – known as warts (HPV). HPV is generally spread by sexual contact. The infection is very common and most adults will be infected at some time in their life by someone or some types of HPV. Most HPV-infections unfortunately no symptoms and disappear automatically. However, a small number of women do not dissipate and HPV are those women who have an increased risk of developing cancer in the cervix.
Cervical cancer develops in the cervix, which is the lower portion of the die, which projects into the vagina. It occurs when the cervical cells are infected with HPV, they are strongly dysplastic and begin to proliferate uncontrollably. Regular screening aims to detect displastic cells at early stages when they can be easily removed so as not to allow them to develop into cervical cancer.
All women aged 18 to 65 years or younger mainly at least six months after their first sexual intercourse, should undergo regular screening with HPV DNA testing every three years and an annual Pap test
What causes cancer of the cervix?
Cancer of the cervix caused by certain types of human wart virus or papillomavirus (HPV). More than 150 types of HPV and about 15 of them can cause dysplasia in cervical cells which can develop into cervical cancer.
Most women infected with HPV-clean isolate it, at 6 to 24 months, without even knowing that they were infected. However, some will not manage to clear their HPV and are these women who have an increased risk of developing cervical cancer
How do you get infected in the genital region of HPV?
The HPV in genital area is usually spread by sexual contact. It can also be spread from one person to another by any skin contact, not just sexual intercourse. The infection is very common and most adults are infected for some time in their lives.
How can one protect oneself?
Although condoms are very effective in preventing the transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases, are not as effective at blocking the transmission of HPV, probably because HPV can be located on the skin of the genital area not covered by the condom.
Today vaccination is to protect women against the two most common types of HPV, types 16 and 18, which cause about 2/3 of all cancers of the cervix and are responsible for many abnormal Pap tests.
Existing vaccines are far more effective if administered before infected by types 16 and 18, but will not protect you effectively against all types of virus. For this reason, even if you have been vaccinated, you should continue to check Pap smear and HPV DNA test. Regular screening with vaccination will offer the most effective protection against cervical cancer
Can it be cured by having genital HPV?
There are treatments for the types of HPV that cause genital warts, but these have not proven to be effective against the types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer. Fortunately, most HPV infections disappear on their own in 6 to 24 months without cause or causing mild injuries .The residual lesions recognized surgically removed.
It will affect the HPV my pregnancy?
The types of HPV that can cause cancer in the cervix is very common and there is no evidence to show that they affect a pregnancy. If you have the virus, there is no reason to change the usual monitoring of your pregnancy. But they may advise you to give birth by Caesarean section, if you have this HPV-infection (diagnosed with HPV DNA test) in the last month of pregnancy in order to avoid infection of the newborn.
What is the HPV DNA test?
The HPV DNA test is used to determine whether you have the HPV virus or not. Although at present there is no cure for the types that can cause cervical cancer, to find if you have the virus or not only helps in determining the risk of developing cervical cancer. If you do not have the virus, your risk is very low and it is safe to pre-screen with an annual Pap test, unless designated otherwise by your gynecologist and HPV DNA test every 2-3 years.
If you have the virus and not left alone, then you need to undergo further tests to see if you have dysplastic and / or precancerous cervical cells, so that they can be removed promptly to prevent the development of cancer. The HPV-infection is very common, but remains briefly in younger women. For this reason, the HPV DNA test is not recommended for women younger than 25 years. This is because the test would find many infections which will disappear by themselves with ease.
What does the result of the HPV DNA test and what women need to do?
In many European countries, the HPV DNA test is used for the prevention of cervical cancer of the uterus for the regular screening of all women aged 25-65 years:
• If the HPV DNA test is negative, the risk of cancer is very low and will advise you to repeat HPV DNA testing in 2- 3 years. You can also submit an interim in the annual Pap test.
• If the HPV DNA test is positive, the risk of cancer precancerous lesions is higher and will advise you to undergo a Pap test directly (liquid cytology) and possibly a colposcopy with biopsy taking.
• Since 2003 many European Gynaecology Society recommends the HPV DNA test for workup women with atypical cells (ASCUS) or (AGUS) in the traditional Pap test and to control and monitor women with genital warts or dysplasia of the cervix.
PREVENTION: OFTEN RELIABLE TEST Pap (OTHER TRADITIONAL AND LIQUID CYTOMETRY) HPV DNA Test, colposcopy AND BIOPSIES CERVICAL, VACCINATION AND WOMEN correct condom use, aid in the early diagnosis of precancerous lesions.