Health Tips: 'Cervical cancer' is caused by 'human papillomavirus', know 10 important facts related to HPV..


Human Papillomavirus Infection: Cervical cancer is the second most dangerous cancer affecting women in India. There is a maximum number of patients with this cancer in the country. Every year around 1.25 lakh women are treated for cervical cancer. Not only this, more than 75 thousand people die in India due to this terrible disease.


A large part of people suffering from cervical cancer i.e. more than 95% is due to Human Papillomavirus. According to a news channel, Dr Gautam Wankhede, Director of Medical Affairs, Mylab Discovery Solutions, has given 10 facts about Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

1. Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). HPV can be spread through skin-to-skin sexual contact. That's why there is no need for sexual relations for transmission.

2. Many sexually active women are vulnerable to this HPV. However, in 9 out of 10 women, this infection clears up on its own, which reduces the chances of getting cancer to a great extent.

3. There are more than 200 types of HPV, out of which about 14 types are considered the most dangerous for causing cancer.

4. HPV 16 or 18 causes 83 per cent of invasive cancer cases. It may take 15 to 20 years from coming in contact with the infection to the development of cancer. 4 out of 5 cervical cancer cases reported in India are due to infection with HPV types 16 and 18.

5. The most effective prevention strategy for cervical cancer is a systematic screening of women along with treatment and HPV vaccination.

6. Several screening methods such as Pap-smear, visual inspection with acetic acid and HPV DNA testing are used for early detection and prevention of cervical cancer.


7. DNA-based testing for HPV is believed to be more effective than other commonly used screening methods. In this testing, vaginal and cervical cells are tested for HPV DNA using a polymerase chain reaction or PCR test. If the result is positive, further evaluation is needed for cervical cancer. But if negative, the chances of cervical cancer are almost zero. More importantly, the chances of getting clinical cervical cancer in the next 5 years are negligible.

8. Today there are such vaccines, which greatly reduce the risk of HPV. However, they do not neutralize the virus in already infected people.

9. Vaccination cannot replace cancer screening. Even if you have received the HPV vaccine, you will still need to be screened for cervical cancer.

10. All women between the ages of 21-65 must have regular pap-smear done every 3 years. If a woman is tested for HPV DNA, then the test gap can be extended up to 5 years.