> Cervical cancer and human papilloma virus
Cervical cancer and human papilloma virus
Cervical cancer and human papilloma virus have a very close association. Cervical cancer is one of the most frequent cancers among women all over the world. This disease is estimated to be a very important problem and its prevention is one of the primary aims of public health care. Different researchers found out that virtually all cases of cervical cancer are linked with human papilloma virus infection.
Recent data have shown that the prevalence of human papilloma virus averages about 50% of the sexually active population. Human papilloma virus typically infects epithelial cells and it can trigger abnormal changes in them. Sometimes these abnormal changes develop and there occur lesions which may be either benign or cancerous. Screening of cervical cancer and human papilloma virus testing are directed to identify this infection at an early stage, because it gives an opportunity to prevent the development of a cancerous tumor.
Human papilloma virus is a group of viruses which consists of about 100 strains and only a few strains are able to induce malignant cell changes. The strains that have a strong association with cervical cancer are called high risk oncogenic strains. They usually are spread through sexual contacts and infect genital organs. Cervical cancer and human papilloma virus induced precancerous conditions usually develop without external symptoms. Therefore, every woman should have a pelvic examination regularly.
There are different diagnostic methods to reveal the presence of cervical cancer and human papilloma virus affected cells at an early stage. The most frequently used and simple procedure is a Pap test - a cytological examination of cervical smears. Methods to assess the state of cervical tissues are colposcopy (visual inspection of the cervical and vaginal walls with help of a special microscope), and biopsy (removal of a small piece of cervical tissue for histological analysis).
Precancerous lesions may progress to cancer within several years. Some factors, like risky sexual behavior, suppressed immune system and persistent human papilloma virus infection, increase risk for development of cervical cancer. So, it is really important to identify women having a history of these risk factors, since it provides a chance to prevent cervical cancer. Regular screening for cervical cancer and human papilloma virus testing have shown a high efficacy in prevention of cervical cancer and they have helped to considerably reduce the prevalence of this disease.