Cervical Cancer Awareness Month: Busting Myths About HPV and Cervical Cancer
January is celebrated as the cervical cancer awareness month and this makes it important that people take the initiative to spread information and awareness about the causes, diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
Cervical cancer is the leading cancer responsible for the death of women in America, and the misconceptions and myths might spread more fear in the minds of the people. Therefore, we are here to bust the common myths related to HPV and cervical cancer.
HPV is the cause of cervical cancer but there are myths related to this as well. We aim to replace the misinformation with the facts and raise awareness about the condition.
HPV is Not Common
Since few HPV cause cervical, throat, anal, penile and other cancers, people think it might not be common to get infected by it. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV is as common as a cold virus and 14 million get infected by it every year in the U.S.
A person who is sexually active gets infected by genital HPV at least once in their lifetime. People who have had only one sex partner their entire life can also get infected by HPV.
You Should Get a Pap Test Every Year
No, it is not necessary to get a pap test every year. It is important to get screened and tested regularly but not as regular as every year. According to the American Cancer Society, there are certain guidelines to be followed when it comes to getting tested or screened:
People between the age of 21 to 29 years must get tested every 3 years
People between the age of 30 to 64 must get tested every 5 years
People beyond the age of 64 years must consult their doctor if they still need to get tested.
Cervical Cancer is Genetic
It is one of the most common myths that if anyone in your closed family suffered from cervical cancer, you will have it too. Having someone in the family with cervical cancer definitely increases the risk of it, but it is not genetic and cannot be passed through the family members.
The most common types of cervical cancer like adenocarcinoma and squamous cervical cancer is not genetic but there are a few rare types of cervical cancers that might be passed through family due to genetic mutations.
If You Have HPV, You Will Get Cervical Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, there are nearly 100 types of HPV and only two common types of HPV like HPV-16 and HPV-18 can cause cervical cancer. Other HPV can be cleared off by the immune system from the body on its own within two years but others might lead to severe health complications.
Sometimes, HPV cause chronic or high end infections that last for long, do not go away on its own and can cause cancer over time.
One Should Not Get Tested if They Show no Symptoms
According to the CDC, HPV is the most common type of sexually transmitted disease and it can affect both men and women who are sexually active.
Many times, a person might not be showing any signs or symptoms even if they are infected by HPV. Therefore ACS has laid down certain guidelines as in when and how frequently should people get tested for HPV.
You Can't Get Pregnant if You Have Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer and especially the treatment of cervical cancer does affect the fertility of a person. They might find it difficult or impossible to conceive. But the fertility can be preserved with various other treatments. More than cervical cancer, the treatment of the condition affects the fertility.
It is better to get regularly tested to avoid complications and detect the cancer at its early stages and if you might get detected positive, you can consult your doctor for various options to preserve your fertility.
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