The range of cancer caused by HPV in women goes from vaginal, vulvar, cervical, to other cancer types. It can even cause common and genital warts in females.
More than 150 viruses make up the human papillomavirus (HPV) and both men and women get affected by it. While some HPV types lead to common skin warts, others can cause some types of cancer, and some can cause genital warts.
HPV is the primary culprit of so many cases of cervical cancer in women. Not only that, but this infection can also cause anal, vaginal, vulvar, and oropharyngeal cancer (cancer found on the sides and back of the throat, tonsils, and base of the tongue).
Sometimes, all HPV types are without symptoms, and it can live in the body for years without causing any harm, or the immune system can clear it off after several months.
Bear in mind that persons infected with HPV and are asymptomatic can pass the infection to others, and you can get infected from an asymptomatic HPV-infected person.
The prevalence of sexually transmitted HPV in women
Report from the CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention), shows that above 40 types of HPV can lead to infection in the genital area and other mucous membranes. These HPV types spread via close skin-to-skin contact. Other modes of transmission are vaginal, oral, and anal sex.
At some point in life, almost all sexually active males and females will contract HPV. This makes it the most common STD.
Symptoms of genital warts in women
An estimated 90% of genital warts (condylomaacuminata) are caused by HPV types 6 and 11.
Women can have genital warts in the following areas:
· Inside the vagina
· Inside or around the anus
· On the cervix
· On the upper thighs
· Around the vulva (vagina opening)
· In the throat, tongue, lips, and mouth
These warts are flesh-coloured or pink in colour. They are often not so visible.
Genital warts might be painful, itchy, or tender, or it may:
· Be flat or raised
· Grow in clusters, resembling a cauliflower
· Show up weeks to months after getting infected with HPV
It's rare for genital warts to cause vaginal discharge, anal or vaginal bleeding.
Pap and HPV tests for cervical cancer
Women get various types of cancer from a persistent infection combined with some HPV types.Research reveals that almost all cases of cervical cancer are triggered by HPV, and 70% of HPV-related cervical cancer are linked mainly to HPV types 16 and 18.
Pap smear or Pap test is the usual method of diagnosing the presence of unusual cells in the cervix (cervical dysplasia). It involves the analysis of a cervical swab.
Although cervical dysplasia isn't cancer, in some cases, it can develop into cancer.The severity of cervical dysplasia will determine if follow-up care is needed. Mild cases of dysplasia will require a repeat test after a year to check if the dysplasia has become worse or disappeared by itself. Severe cases of dysplasia need a procedure to take out abnormal cells.
A more recent test known as the HPV test diagnoses the presence of the virus in cervical cells, rather than changes in cell appearance.
It is recommended that women between 21 to 29 years go for a Pap test every 3 years anHPVtest. The reason is that HPV commonly affects females within this age bracket. In addition, any abnormal Pap test result may require an HPV test.
Again, it is recommended that women between 30 to 65 years get an HPV test plus Pap test every 5 years, or opt for only Pap test every 3 years. These recommendations are subject to change since some research reveals that getting an HPV test with a corresponding Pap test is just as effective at identifying precancers as doing both tests simultaneously.
Cervical cancer screening payment
The recommended screening for cervical cancer is covered by a majority of health insurance plans. Sometimes, you don't have to pay beyond the cost of an office visit. But that can also be covered if the tests are included in your annual physical examination.
Any insurance plan bought via HealthCare.govMarketplace must cover Pap test and HPV tests without charging a coinsurance or copayment provided the screening test is performed by a medical caregiver within your plan's coverage.
You can get free screening via CDC's National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) if:
· You don't have health insurance
· Your insurance doesn't cover screening exams
· Your annual income is at or below 250% of the federal poverty level.
The NBCCEDP provides Pap test, HPV tests, and diagnostic testing should results be abnormal, and referrals to treatment.
Contact a local program in your region to check your eligibility for a free screening.
Oral, vulvar, and vaginal cancer
Report shows that 7 in 10 cases of vulvar, vaginal, and oropharyngeal (mouth and throat) cancers in women are tied to HPV.
Oropharyngeal cancer can give rise to:
· Difficulty swallowing
· Weight loss
· Persistent throat or ear pain, coughing or hoarseness
· A lump in the neck
There may be no symptoms with early vulvar, cervical, and vaginal cancers. However, late-stage cancer can cause abnormal bleeding from the vagina or discharge and pain during sex.
Vulvar cancer can also result in:
· Lumps, bumps, or growths resembling warts
· An open sore that lasts for the period of 1 month or over
· Changes in vulvar skin colour and thickness
Vaginal, vulvar, and oropharyngeal cancers are diagnosed using a sample of abnormal cells examined with a microscope.
Treating HPV in women
HPV infection has no cure, however, there are treatments to manage symptoms of this disease.
Nongenital skin warts can be treated using:
· Immunotherapy (for serious or persistent cases)
· Over-the-counter or doctor-performed cryotherapy (freezing)
· Salicylic acid (sold at any drugstore)
· Cantharidin (a chemical doctors can administer)
· Surgical procedures, including excision, laser treatment, and electrosurgery.
For genital warts, it can be treated with several medications applied by yourself or doctor, includingPodofilox solution or gel, Imiquimod cream, Sinecatechins (a kind of green tea extract), and other surgical treatments. Surgery can be used to take our precancerous cervical growths, and it prevents the development of cervical cancer. HPV-induced cancers are treated with standard cancer therapies, including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Visit STI Clinic London website www.sticlinic.london today to get tested and treated for HPV.
HPV for girls and women
The Gardasil 9 (HPV vaccine) protects against all the types of HPV causing cancer, which are types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58. It also protects against types 6 and 11, which brings about genital warts. It is recommended that all girls and boys between 11 to 12 years get vaccinated against HPV. This is because most people at this age are unexposed to the strains of HPV that the vaccine protects against, so the vaccine gives them full protection.
For girls and women who missed the vaccine at the recommended age, or did not complete the series of shot, and are past the age of 45, they can get the Gardasil 9. This vaccine provides almost 100% protection against cervical precancers and genital warts for a period of 8 to 10 years. For more information on diagnosis and treatment of HPV, do call 020 71830649 today.
Published by Andy Roberts