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Cervical Cancer and HPV

Doctors can treat the cell changes that HPV may cause, but not the HPV infection

What is cervical cancer?

  • It is the sixth most common cancer affecting women in Singapore
  • Occurs when there are abnormal cell growth in the cervix (neck of the uterus or womb)
  • It is caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

What is HPV?

  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common virus in men and women
  • HPV is transmitted by close contact, including both penetrative and non-penetrative sexual contact
  • There are about 40 types of genital HPV, some of these are ‘high risk’ and cause cervical cancer
  • Most sexually active people will get HPV at some time in their lives, though most will never know it because there are no symptoms
  • In most cases, our immune system fights off HPV infection naturally
  • Sometimes HPV infection persists more than two years and causes cervical cell changes.
  • These changes can lead to cervical cancer over time, if left untreated. 
  • HPV infection can be prevented by administration of cervical cancer vaccine

What is a HPV test?

  • A DNA test that find the types of high risk HPV that may be linked to cervical cancer
  • It helps the doctor to assess your risk of cervical cancer and to decide how soon you should get your next Pap smear and what (if any) other tests you may need

What does a positive HPV test means?

  • It means you have HPV on your cervix
  • This does not mean that you have or will get cervical cancer
  • You might have a higher chance of developing cell changes which could lead to cervical cancer over time
  • Regular Pap smear and follow up are important
  • Doctors can treat the cell changes that HPV may cause, but not the HPV infection

What is a Pap Smear?

  • A screening test to detect precancerous or cancerous cells in the cervix
  • All women who have had sexual experience, aged 25-69 years,  should go for regular Pap smear at least once every 3 years, depending on doctor’s recommendation

 

Publication of article by courtesy of Dr Wong Kae Thong, Wellness Assessment Centre, Asiamedic Ltd



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