It’s important for women to see their gynecologist each year for a variety of reasons, according to OB-GYN Montgomery County Dr. Rania Ibrahim. A pap smear – which is used in the detection of cervical cancer – is one reason, but there are other defensive strategies, such as being vaccinated for the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Researchers have determined that particular strains of HPV are the cause of nearly all cases of cervical cancers. Still, since many women are cautious, or don’t know much about this relatively new immunization, today we’re sharing answers to some of the most common questions we receive.
What is the connection between HPCV and cervical cancer?
HPV is a sexually transmitted virus. While condoms decrease the risk of transmission, your OB-GYN Montgomery County has found that 90 percent of cervical cancers are related to the high-risk HPV virus. In other words, 90 percent of HPV does not cause cervical cancer, but when a patient has cervical cancer, 90 percent of it is associated with HPV.
How is HPV different from other cancers?
Most adults will be exposed to HPV at some time during their life. For the majority, however, their body will fight it off and it won’t produce any issues. But for others, the high-risk HPV can produce abnormal cells in the cervix.
How does the HPV vaccine protect women against cervical cancer?
There is a vaccine for some of the most widespread, aggressive strains of HPV, so it provides some degree of protection, but it doesn’t cover all of the different strains. The vaccine reduces the chance of someone contracting cervical cancer, but it doesn’t eliminate the risk completely so other preventative methods – such as condoms – should be used.
Are there other risks associated with this condition?
The most significant risk factors are HPV and having a number of sexual partners. But according to your OB-GYN Montgomery County, birth control pills also create a risk. While there’s no information stating that birth control pills cause cervical cancer, women who take them tend not to use condoms because they’re on the pill, which results in a higher occurrence of HPV virus.
Pap tests and other screenings can detect illness in an earlier state, when it’s more easily treated. So don’t hesitate – call our office today to schedule a consultation.