Cervical Cancer Hpv Human Papillomavirus

Medical research shows a strong link between HPV and cancer of the cervix. HPV is probably the most direct of cervical cancer causes. According to Michael Gold, Director of the Gynecologic Oncology division at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, HPV in women is connected to up to 95 percent of all cervical cancer cases worldwide.

Cervical Cancer and HPV

The human papillomavirus family consists of over 100 different types of HPVHuman papillomavirus is passed during sexual intercourse or genital contact, and most sexually active people contract HPV in their lifetimes. In most cases of HPV in women, the immune system keeps it from developing into anything harmful. In a small percentage of women, however, HPV causes cervical cells to convert into precancerous cells, sometimes becoming cancerous ones.

No one knows why some women with HPV develop cervical cancer and others don’t. Precancerous cell changes may even clear spontaneously in some cases. Some types of HPV are more aggressive than others, and more likely to be cervical cancer causes. Additionally, cigarette smoking doubles the risk of developing cervical cancer.

What is HPV in Women?

The human papillomavirus family consists of over 100 different “strains,” or types, of HPV. These viruses can be as non-threatening as common warts on the hands or feet, while others may become cervical cancer causes. HPV studies are examining the connection between cervical cancer and HPV:

  • According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, HPV 16 and 18 produce two proteins that directly affect the growth of the infected host cells.
  • Some types of HPV in women can cause genital warts-cauliflower-like growths on the outer skin of the genitals of men or women. These “low-risk” lesions and aren’t linked with cancer. Other types of HPV, however, are considered “high-risk” strains, and have been associated with cervical cancer.
  • Two of the most “oncogenic” (cancer causing) types of HPV are HPV 16 and 18, which are found in over 90 percent of cases of cervical cancer. Other “high-risk” strains of HPV include 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 66, 68 and 73.
  • While most women with cervical cancer have HPV, not all women with HPV will develop cervical cancer.

HPV and Cancer Screening

The human papillomavirus can live in the body for many years without causing any symptoms. This is why having regular Pap smears to detect changes in cervical cells is important. Pre-cancerous cells or early stage cancer can be isolated and destroyed to prevent metastasis to other parts of the body.

The HPV Vaccine

The Gardasil® HPV vaccine is now available to help prevent cervical cancer