How I Knew I Had Cervical Cancer

22.08.2023 0 Comments

Some women with cervical cancer may experience symptoms, including: Abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding after sexual intercourse, bleeding between periods, or unusually heavy periods. Pain during sexual intercourse. Unusual vaginal discharge, which may be watery, thick, or foul-smelling.

What was your first cervical cancer symptom?

Unusual bleeding – In most cases, vaginal bleeding is the first noticeable symptom of cervical cancer. It usually occurs after having sex. Bleeding at any other time, other than your expected monthly period is also considered unusual. This includes bleeding after the menopause (when a woman’s monthly periods stop). Visit your GP for advice if you experience any type of unusual vaginal bleeding.

How does your body feel if you have cervical cancer?

What is cervical cancer pain like? – Pain from cervical cancer may not feel like much in the early stages of the disease if you feel anything at all. As cancer progresses and spreads to nearby tissues and organs, you may experience pain in your pelvis or have issues urinating. Other people will feel generally unwell, tired or lose their appetite.

How long can a woman have cervical cancer without knowing?

Cervical cancer is a very slow developing cancer. It takes a long time for an HPV infection to become an invasive cancerous growth. The slow growth of cervical cancer is why Pap tests are so effective at preventing cervical cancer. A regular Pap smear can check for any abnormal changes that will eventually lead to cervical cancer.

That means you can receive treatment before the cancer ever fully develops. Learn how cervical cancer develops, along with early symptoms, causes, prevention strategies, and treatment. Cervical cancer develops very slowly. It can take years or even decades for the abnormal changes in the cervix to become invasive cancer cells.

Cervical cancer might develop faster in people with weaker immune systems, but it will still likely take at least 5 years. Fortunately, this means there is ample opportunity to detect and treat cervical cancer early. Routine Pap tests can detect any abnormal changes and pre-cancerous signs.

Cervical cancer spreads in stages once it has developed. These stages represent how far the cancer has spread in your body. How fast the cancer spreads depends on factors such as how quickly you receive treatment, your age at diagnosis, and your overall health. The spread of the cancer also depends on underlying features of the cancer (such as cell type), and whether the person smokes.

Byproducts of tobacco have been found in the cervical tissues of women who smoke. Researchers believe these byproducts damage cell DNA and may contribute to the onset of cervical cancer, Smoking also weakens the immune system, hindering its ability to fight off HPV infections.

abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as spotting between periodsbleeding after intercoursemenstrual periods that are longer or heavier than usualpostmenopausal bleeding

Many of these changes, however, have other possible causes, including stress, weight loss, new medications, or chronic health conditions. It’s important to discuss any changes you notice with a medical provider, so you can find out what’s causing them.

Can you see Stage 1 cervical cancer?

In stage 1A the growth is so small that it can only be seen with a microscope or colposcope. It can be divided into 2 smaller groups: stage 1A1. stage 1A2.

Who is most likely to get cervical cancer?

Becoming sexually active at an early age: The risk of high-risk HPV infection that is persistent and ultimately leads to cervical cancer is higher in people who become sexually active before age 18 and in those who have had multiple sexual partners.

How fast does cervical cancer grow?

HPV and cervical cancer – A large majority of cervical cancer (more than 95%) is due to the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract. Most sexually active women and men will be infected at some point in their lives, and some may be repeatedly infected.

  • More than 90% of the infected populations eventually clear the infection.
  • Cervical cancer is by far the most common HPV-related disease.
  • Nearly all cases of cervical cancer can be attributed to HPV infection.
  • Although most HPV infections clear up on their own and most pre-cancerous lesions resolve spontaneously, there is a risk for all women that HPV infection may become chronic and pre-cancerous lesions progress to invasive cervical cancer.

It takes 15 to 20 years for cervical cancer to develop in women with normal immune systems. It can take only 5 to 10 years in women with weakened immune systems, such as those with untreated HIV infection.

What hurts with cervical cancer?

Low Back, Pelvic or Appendix Pain – Low back pain or pelvic pain can be linked to problems with reproductive organs, such as the cervix. A sign of cervical cancer is pelvic pain, especially continuous pain. Pelvic pain near the appendix doesn’t usually occur unless the cancer is in advanced stages. There will usually be other cervical cancer red flags before pelvic pain occurs.

What age group is most at risk for cervical cancer?

The HPV test can be used alone (primary HPV test) or at the same time as the Pap test (called a co-test). Cervical cancer is most frequently diagnosed in women between the ages of 35 and 44 with the average age at diagnosis being 50.

Does cervical cancer spread quickly?

Cervical cancer and the Cervical Screening Test – The is a quick and simple test that detects the presence of HPV. If HPV is detected, a further test is done, on the same sample, to check the cells of the cervix. Most cell changes to the cervix are not cancerous, but indicate common infections or conditions, which usually clear up naturally.

How can I test for cervical cancer at home?

Types of At-Home Tests – There are a number of options for at-home HPV testing. The following sections include our selections for the best at-home HPV tests: Best Overall Testing.com – HPV High Risk Test Kit, Genital Price: $99 Type: Self-collection Sample: Vaginal swab, Urine Results timeline: Within 3 to 4 business days The HPV High Risk with Genotyping-Genital Test Kit from Testing.com is our top overall pick due to its comprehensive testing, simple process, and positive customer reviews.

  • The Testing.com kit utilizes a vaginal swab or urine sample to test for 14 types of high-risk HPV—including types 16 and 18, which are responsible for most HPV-related cancers.
  • After placing your order on the company’s website, a test kit is mailed in discreet packaging to your home within 3 to 5 business days.

After reviewing the instructions provided in the kit, it only takes a few minutes to collect a vaginal swab or urine sample for testing. Then package and mail the completed sample to one of Testing.com’s CLIA-certified labs. Test results are available through a patient portal on the company’s website within 3 to 4 business days of receipt by the lab.

  1. Best for FSA/HSA Payments LetsGetChecked – HPV Test Price: $89 (Get 25% off with your exclusive Testing.com discount code.
  2. Use code TESTING25 at checkout.) Type: Self-collection Sample: Cervical swab Results timeline: About 21 days LetsGetChecked accepts flexible spending account (FSA) and health savings account (HSA) cards to pay for this reasonably priced test that checks for 14 high-risk types of HPV.

Please contact UPS to arrange a pickup before you collect your sample. You should collect your sample on the same day as the pickup is scheduled for. Visit the UPS pickup scheduling page or call 1-800-742-5877 to schedule a pickup to return your sample.

  1. You’ll be asked to provide some information including your tracking number, pickup address and pickup day and time.
  2. Please keep your tracking number to help you track your package.
  3. LetsGetChecked’s CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited labs meet established quality control standards.
  4. Results are provided through a secure online account.
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The average processing time is 21 days from when a sample arrives at one of LetsGetChecked’s partner laboratories. According to the company, this delay is due to worldwide shortages of one of the chemicals used during lab testing. LetsGetChecked offers a dedicated team of nurses who are available 24/7 to walk you through the testing process and explain test results.

  1. Clearest Results Everlywell – HPV Test Price: $49 Type: Self-collection Sample: Vaginal swab Results timeline: Within a few business days The Everlywell HPV Test is our pick for clearest results due to the company’s user-friendly online platform for viewing your test outcome.
  2. A personalized report of each HPV marker is combined with educational tips to help you understand what your results mean.

Screening for HPV with Everlywell is straightforward and easy. Order your kit online, register it on Everlywell’s website, and collect your sample from the privacy of your home. This HPV test uses a vaginal swab sample to test for 14 high-risk strains of HPV.

  • Once your sample is collected, just drop it in the mail and your results will be available within a few business days.
  • Everlywell’s secure platform is HIPAA compliant, and the company guarantees that your health data will never be sold.
  • Tests ordered through Everlywell are reviewed by an independent, board-certified physician in your state.

If your HPV test results are positive, a physician will reach out to you to discuss the next steps. Fastest Results myLAB Box – At Home HPV Test – save 20% by using code Testing20 at checkout Price: $79 Type: Self-collection Sample: Vaginal swab Results timeline: Within 2 to 5 days If you’re looking for an HPV test that is quick and easy, try the At Home HPV Test from myLAB Box.

  1. With free two-day shipping and an impressive turnaround of 2 to 5 days, myLAB Box’s product is our pick for fastest HPV test results.
  2. Testing with myLAB Box is simple.
  3. Just order your kit on the company’s website, and it is shipped to you directly and discreetly.
  4. Collecting your sample takes less than five minutes, allowing you to mail it to the laboratory on the same day.

The myLAB Box kit tests for 14 high-risk types of HPV. Your results will be sent via email. If you have any questions or concerns about your test results, the company offers free phone consultations with physicians. Best for People Without Insurance Nurx – Home HPV Test Kit Price: $79 ($49 with insurance) Type: Self-collection Sample: Vaginal swab Results timeline: About 7 days For people who aren’t using insurance to cover the cost of HPV screening, Nurx is a great option to consider.

  • Purchasing the Home HPV Test Kit without insurance costs $79, plus an additional $15 consultation fee for unlimited access to Nurx’s medical team for one year to discuss your test results.
  • The testing process is straightforward and hassle-free.
  • Nurx’s website offers detailed videos that walk you through the testing process.

Be sure to wait at least two days after your period and spotting ends before using the kit’s swab to collect a sample of vaginal cells to test for 14 high-risk HPV strains. Then just package your sample according to the instructions provided and mail it to the company’s HIPAA-compliant and CLIA-certified partner lab.

Why is cervical cancer a silent killer?

In the U.S., cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 13,000 new cases are diagnosed and 4,000 American women die from cervical cancer each year. These numbers are staggering, especially because cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers in women.

  • However, there is good news.
  • There’s been a steady decline in cervical cancer rates over the last 50 years.
  • The decline is largely due to regularly updated screening guidelines and also the highly effective human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine,” says Dr.
  • Melody Besharati, an OBGYN with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group,

The importance of early detection According to the American Cancer Society, cervical cancer is most commonly diagnosed in women between the ages of 35 and 44, and it rarely develops in women younger than age 20. Known as a “silent killer,” cervical cancer often causes no symptoms until it reaches a later stage — which is why regular screenings are so important.

  1. Almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV, a common virus that can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact.
  2. The Pap test (or Pap smear) is one of the best ways to screen women for cervical cancer and test for HPV infection.
  3. Unfortunately, women diagnosed with later stage cervical cancers often haven’t kept up with recommended screenings,” Dr.

Besharati says. “A cervical cancer screening involves a vaginal speculum exam, which takes a small sample of cells from the cervix to assess for the presence of abnormal cells and HPV. Early detection of cervical cancer increases the likelihood of successful treatment.” 5 cervical cancer red flags In addition to having regular Pap tests and HPV tests performed for screening purposes, it’s important to recognize possible warning signs.

  • Here are five common cervical cancer symptoms: 1.
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding Many women have the occasional irregular period or spotting, but changes that aren’t typical for you could indicate something more serious.
  • A possible symptom of advanced cervical cancer is vaginal bleeding that’s unusual for you — including bleeding during or after sex, between your periods or after menopause, or having heavier periods than usual,” Dr.

Besharati says.2. Unusual discharge While vaginal discharge is normal, the type of discharge you experience could be an indicator of vaginal health. With cervical cancer, you may notice discharge that is foul-smelling and pink, brown or bloody in color.

  1. It can be tough to tell the difference between discharge that’s a sign of cervical cancer and the many other reasons you might have abnormal discharge.
  2. This is yet another reason to get routine screenings to rule out anything serious.3.
  3. Painful sexual intercourse Women with advanced cervical cancer may experience pain during sexual intercourse caused by tumor growth in your tissues and reproductive organs.

Pain with intercourse can also be caused by a range of other things.4. Pain in the pelvic region Menstrual cramps are a common problem, but periods are not the only cause of aches and pains in the pelvic area. If you experience pelvic pain outside of your normal menstrual cycle, it may indicate a problem.

  1. The pain could be sharp or dull, spread throughout the pelvic area or concentrated in one specific area.
  2. Either way, pain is the body’s way of sending a warning signal.5.
  3. Complications in bowel movements Cervical cancer sometimes changes a woman’s urinary habits and bowel movements.
  4. If you have a persistent and increasing need to urinate, or if your stools change consistency over an extended period, these changes could be a sign that the cancer has spread to the kidneys, bladder or the colon region.

Many cervical cancer symptoms can also mimic other, less serious conditions, so it’s important to address any concerns with your doctor. Cervical cancer is highly preventable with the HPV vaccine, regular screenings and appropriate and timely follow up on abnormal results.

Can I have cervical cancer and not know?

Symptoms – Early-stage cervical cancer generally produces no signs or symptoms. Signs and symptoms of more-advanced cervical cancer include:

Vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between periods or after menopause Watery, bloody vaginal discharge that may be heavy and have a foul odor Pelvic pain or pain during intercourse

How do I make sure I don’t have cervical cancer?

The most important things you can do to help prevent cervical cancer are to get vaccinated against HPV, have regular screening tests, and go back to the doctor if your screening test results are not normal.

How quickly can HPV turn into cancer?

How Does HPV Cause Cancer? – HPV infection causes cells to undergo changes. If not treated these cells can, over time, become cancer cells. Credit: National Cancer Institute Once high-risk HPV infects cells, it interferes with the ways in which these cells communicate with one another, causing infected cells to multiply in an uncontrolled manner.

These infected cells are usually recognized and controlled by the immune system, However, sometimes the infected cells remain and continue to grow, eventually forming an area of precancerous cells that, if not treated, can become cancer, Research has found that it can take 10 to 20 years, or even longer, for HPV-infected cervical cells to develop into a cancerous tumor.

Among women whose cervical cells are infected with high-risk HPV, several factors increase the chance that the infection will be long lasting and lead to precancerous cervical cells. These include:

Having a very aggressive HPV type, particularly HPV 16 or HPV 18. If you have either of these HPV types, make sure you receive diagnostic testing with a colposcopy. Smoking cigarettes. Quitting smoking can help your body to fight HPV. Having a weakened immune system. If you have HIV or are taking medicines that suppress your immune system, talk to your health care provider about diagnostic testing and follow-up.

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Clinical trials are an important step in learning about better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases, such as cancers caused by HPV. NCI’s Cancer Information Service can help you learn about HPV-related trials in the United States. The National Cancer Institute is conducting and funding research to learn more about HPV:

The Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG) conducts research into cervical and other HPV-related cancers to advance our understanding of how HPV causes cancer, evaluates screening practices to determine the most effective methods to detect precancerous changes early, develops and tests new approaches to screening that may be easier to use in low-resource settings, and refines tools for risk assessment in the clinic to help health care providers follow up on abnormal screening test results. Investigators in DCEG conducted the first population-based clinical trial of HPV vaccines. The Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP) conducts and fosters the development of research on the prevention and early detection of human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers and related conditions. The Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) supports research-tested intervention programs related to HPV and the investigation of implementation strategies to promote the HPV vaccine in regions with low HPV vaccine rates. The Center for Cancer Research (CCR) is home to scientists and clinicians who are exploring the cutting-edge of cancer-related research. CCR scientists work on a wide spectrum of biological and biomedical problems, including HPV. Investigators in CCR conducted the research that led to the initial development and characterization of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines.

Can you survive cervical cancer?

Survival rates for cervical cancer – Doctors estimate cervical cancer prognosis by using statistics collected over many years from people with cervical cancer. One statistic that is commonly used in making a prognosis is the 5-year relative survival rate,

  • The 5-year relative survival rate tells you what percent of people with the same type and stage of cervical cancer are alive 5 years after their cancer was diagnosed, compared with people in the overall population.
  • For example, the 5-year relative survival rate for cervical cancer diagnosed at an early stage is 91%.

This means that people diagnosed with early-stage cervical cancer are 91% as likely as people who do not have cervical cancer to be alive 5 years after diagnosis. The 5-year relative survival rates for cervical cancer are as follows:

When cervical cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 91%.When cervical cancer is diagnosed after it has spread to nearby tissues, organs, or regional lymph nodes, the 5-year relative survival rate is 60%.When cervical cancer is diagnosed after it has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year relative survival rate is 19%.The 5-year relative survival rate for all people with cervical cancer is 67%.

Learn more about statistics for cervical cancer, from our Cancer Stat Facts Collection.

How often is cervical cancer caught early?

What is the survival rate for cervical cancer? – There are different types of statistics that can help doctors evaluate a person’s chance of recovery from cervical cancer. These are called survival statistics. A specific type of survival statistic is called the relative survival rate.

  • It is often used to predict how having cancer may affect life expectancy.
  • Relative survival rate looks at how likely people with cervical cancer are to survive for a certain amount of time after their initial diagnosis or start of treatment compared to the expected survival of similar people without this cancer.

Example : Here is an example to help explain what a relative survival rate means. Please note this is only an example and not specific to this type of cancer. Let’s assume that the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific type of cancer is 90%. “Percent” means how many out of 100.

  • Imagine there are 1,000 people without cancer, and based on their age and other characteristics, you expect 900 of the 1,000 to be alive in 5 years.
  • Also imagine there are another 1,000 people similar in age and other characteristics as the first 1,000, but they all have the specific type of cancer that has a 5-year survival rate of 90%.

This means it is expected that 810 of the people with the specific cancer (90% of 900) will be alive in 5 years. It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with cervical cancer are only an estimate. They cannot tell an individual person if cancer will or will not shorten their life.

Instead, these statistics describe trends in groups of people previously diagnosed with the same disease, including specific stages of the disease. The 5-year relative survival rate for cervical cancer in the U.S. is 67%. The survival rates for cervical cancer vary based on several factors. These include the stage of cancer, a person’s age and general health, and how well the treatment plan works.

Other factors that can affect outcomes include race and ethnicity. For White women, the 5-year relative survival rate is 67%. For Black women, the 5-year relative survival rate is 56%. Older women also have lower survival rates. Women who are 65 or older have a 46% relative survival rate, while women between ages 50 to 64 have a 61% relative survival rate.

  • Women under 50 have a 77% relative survival rate.
  • When detected at an early stage, the 5-year relative survival rate for people with invasive cervical cancer is 92%.
  • About 44% of people with cervical cancer are diagnosed at an early stage.
  • If cervical cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year relative survival rate is 59%.

If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year relative survival rate is 17%. Experts measure relative survival rate statistics for cervical cancer every 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how cervical cancer is diagnosed or treated from the last 5 years.

  • Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about this information.
  • Learn more about understanding statistics,
  • Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) publications, Cancer Facts & Figures 2023 and Cancer Facts & Figures 2020; the ACS website; and the International Agency for Research on Cancer website.

(All sources accessed February 2023.) The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations, It offers drawings of body parts often affected by cervical cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.

How long can you live with cervical cancer?

Survival for all stages of cervical cancer – Generally, for people with cervical cancer in England:

more than 80 out of every 100 (more than 80%) will survive their cancer for 1 year or more after they are diagnosedmore than 60 out of every 100 (more than 60%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosismore than 50 women out of every 100 (more than 50%) will survive their cancer for 10 years or more after diagnosis

Cancer survival by stage at diagnosis for England, 2019 Office for National Statistics These statistics are for net survival. Net survival estimates the number of people who survive their cancer rather than calculating the number of people diagnosed with cancer who are still alive.

Is cervical cancer a big deal?

What is cervical cancer? – Cervical cancer occurs when previously healthy cells in the cervix become abnormal. As they grow, they crowd healthy cells. If the abnormal cells spread to other areas of the body, it makes it harder for the body to function correctly.

Cervical cancer used to be one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. Fortunately, because of the Pap test, rates of cervical cancer have dropped dramatically. During a Pap test, your doctor collects cervical cells for microscopic examination to find precancerous or cancerous cells.

A Pap test is typically done every 3 to 5 years in your healthcare provider’s office unless you are at an increased risk for cervical cancer. It is crucial to catch cancer early, and routine cervical cancer screening allows most women to do that.

What is the 2 major risk factor for getting cervical cancer?

Other sexually transmitted infections – The risk of cervical cancer may be increased in women who have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) alongside HPV. Women with both HPV and chlamydia (pronounced klah-mid-ee-ah), might have a higher risk of cervical cancer.

What percentage of HPV turns into cancer?

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted infection. More than 90 percent of sexually active men and 80 percent of sexually active women will be infected with HPV in their lifetime.1 Around 50 percent of HPV infections involve certain high-risk types of HPV, which can cause cancer.

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Can cervical cancer develop in 3 years?

HPV and cervical cancer – A large majority of cervical cancer (more than 95%) is due to the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract. Most sexually active women and men will be infected at some point in their lives, and some may be repeatedly infected.

More than 90% of the infected populations eventually clear the infection. Cervical cancer is by far the most common HPV-related disease. Nearly all cases of cervical cancer can be attributed to HPV infection. Although most HPV infections clear up on their own and most pre-cancerous lesions resolve spontaneously, there is a risk for all women that HPV infection may become chronic and pre-cancerous lesions progress to invasive cervical cancer.

It takes 15 to 20 years for cervical cancer to develop in women with normal immune systems. It can take only 5 to 10 years in women with weakened immune systems, such as those with untreated HIV infection.

Does Stage 1 cervical cancer cause pain?

Cervical cancer affects the entrance to the womb. The cervix is the narrow part of the lower uterus, often referred to as the neck of the womb. The American Cancer Society estimates that doctors will make 13,170 new diagnoses of cervical cancer by the end of 2019 in the United States.

More than 4,200 women in the U.S. will die from cervical cancer this year. Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes the majority of cervical cancer cases. The HPV vaccine successfully prevents HPV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initially recommended the vaccine for all people aged 9–26 years.

However, the CDC now advise that the vaccine is also available for all women and men aged 26–45 years who did receive the vaccine as a preteen. In this article, we look at cervical cancer, its symptoms, and ways to prevent and treat it. In the early stages of cervical cancer, a person may experience no symptoms at all.

bleeding between periodsbleeding after sexual intercoursebleeding in post-menopausal womendiscomfort during sexual intercoursevaginal discharge with a strong odorvaginal discharge tinged with bloodpelvic pain

These symptoms can have other causes, including infection. Anyone who experiences any of these symptoms should see a doctor. Working out the stage of a cancer is important, as it helps a person decide the most effective type of treatment. Staging aims to assess how far the cancer has spread and whether it has reached nearby structures or more distant organs.

Stage 0: Precancerous cells are present. Stage 1: Cancer cells have grown from the surface into deeper tissues of the cervix, and possibly into the uterus and to nearby lymph nodes Stage 2: The cancer has now moved beyond the cervix and uterus, but not as far as the walls of the pelvis or the lower part of the vagina. It may or may not affect nearby lymph nodes. Stage 3: Cancer cells are present in the lower part of the vagina or the walls of the pelvis, and it may be blocking the ureters, the tubes that carry urine from the bladder. It may or may not affect nearby lymph nodes. Stage 4: The cancer affects the bladder or rectum and is growing out of the pelvis. It may or may not affect the lymph nodes. Later in stage 4, it will spread to distant organs, including the liver, bones, lungs, and lymph nodes.

Undergoing screening and seeking medical attention if any symptoms occur can help a person access early treatment and increase the chances of survival. Cancer is the result of the uncontrolled division and growth of abnormal cells. Most of the cells in our body have a set lifespan, and, when they die, the body generates new cells to replace them. Abnormal cells can have two problems:

they do not diethey continue dividing

This results in an excessive buildup of cells, which eventually forms a lump, or tumor, Scientists are not completely sure why cells become cancerous. However, some risk factors might increase the risk of developing cervical cancer. These include:

HPV: This is a sexually transmitted virus. More than 100 different types of HPV can occur, at least 13 of which may cause cervical cancer. Having many sexual partners or becoming sexually active early: The transmission of cancer-causing HPV types nearly always occur as a result of sexual contact with an individual who has HPV. Women who have had many sexual partners generally have a higher risk of HPV infection. This increases their risk of developing cervical cancer. Smoking: This increases the risk of cervical cancer, as well as other types. A weakened immune system: The risk of cervical cancer is higher in those with HIV or AIDS, and people who have undergone a transplant, leading to the use of immunosuppressive medications. Birth control pills: Long-term use of some common contraceptive pills slightly raises a woman’s risk. Other sexually transmitted diseases (STD): Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis increase the risk of developing cervical cancer. Socio-economic status: Rates appear to be higher in areas where income are low.

Cervical cancer treatment options include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or combinations of these. Deciding on the kind of treatment depends on several factors, such as the stage of the cancer, as well as age and overall state of health. Treatment for early-stage cervical cancer, when the cancer remains within the cervix, has a good success rate.

Can you still have cervical cancer with a normal smear?

No screening test is 100% effective – In cervical screening this is because:

an HPV infection or abnormal cells can sometimes be missed (a ‘false negative’ result) abnormal cells can develop and turn into cancer in between screening tests there is a small chance that a result says abnormal cells are found when the cervix is normal (a ‘false positive’ result)

If screening does not find abnormal cells this does not guarantee that you do not have them, or that they will never develop in the future.

How fast can HPV cause cancer?

How Does HPV Cause Cancer? – HPV infection causes cells to undergo changes. If not treated these cells can, over time, become cancer cells. Credit: National Cancer Institute Once high-risk HPV infects cells, it interferes with the ways in which these cells communicate with one another, causing infected cells to multiply in an uncontrolled manner.

These infected cells are usually recognized and controlled by the immune system, However, sometimes the infected cells remain and continue to grow, eventually forming an area of precancerous cells that, if not treated, can become cancer, Research has found that it can take 10 to 20 years, or even longer, for HPV-infected cervical cells to develop into a cancerous tumor.

Among women whose cervical cells are infected with high-risk HPV, several factors increase the chance that the infection will be long lasting and lead to precancerous cervical cells. These include:

Having a very aggressive HPV type, particularly HPV 16 or HPV 18. If you have either of these HPV types, make sure you receive diagnostic testing with a colposcopy. Smoking cigarettes. Quitting smoking can help your body to fight HPV. Having a weakened immune system. If you have HIV or are taking medicines that suppress your immune system, talk to your health care provider about diagnostic testing and follow-up.

Clinical trials are an important step in learning about better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases, such as cancers caused by HPV. NCI’s Cancer Information Service can help you learn about HPV-related trials in the United States. The National Cancer Institute is conducting and funding research to learn more about HPV:

The Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG) conducts research into cervical and other HPV-related cancers to advance our understanding of how HPV causes cancer, evaluates screening practices to determine the most effective methods to detect precancerous changes early, develops and tests new approaches to screening that may be easier to use in low-resource settings, and refines tools for risk assessment in the clinic to help health care providers follow up on abnormal screening test results. Investigators in DCEG conducted the first population-based clinical trial of HPV vaccines. The Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP) conducts and fosters the development of research on the prevention and early detection of human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers and related conditions. The Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) supports research-tested intervention programs related to HPV and the investigation of implementation strategies to promote the HPV vaccine in regions with low HPV vaccine rates. The Center for Cancer Research (CCR) is home to scientists and clinicians who are exploring the cutting-edge of cancer-related research. CCR scientists work on a wide spectrum of biological and biomedical problems, including HPV. Investigators in CCR conducted the research that led to the initial development and characterization of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines.