8 Cervical Cancer Myths and Facts You Need to Know
Cervical cancer occurs in the cells of the cervix which is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. It is usually caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) which is a sexually transmitted infection.
There are many cervical cancer myths which results in a lot of confusion about the causes, treatment, and cervical cancer prevention.
Here are eight myths about cervical cancer.
Myth 1: You need a Pap test every year.
Fact: If your Pap test and HPV test are both normal then there is no need to get a Pap test every year. There are some cervical cancer guidelines for women who have gone for Pap and HPV test previously with normal test results:
- Ages 21-29: Pap test every three years
- Ages 30-64: Pap test and HPV test every five years
- Ages 65 and older: Consult your doctor about whether you need to continue for any test or not
Myth 2: HPV is not common, and it only affects people who have multiple partners, so I should not worry about the HPV vaccine or Pap test.
Fact: HPV infection is widespread, it affects 80% of men and women approximately.
Myth 3: HPV infection gets clear from the body on its own.
Fact: In a few cases, HPV infection clears up on its own without ever knowing they were exposed. However, the infection can persist and can lead to serious health problems such as genital warts and many types of cancer.
Myth 4: I can’t have a baby now that I have had cervical cancer.
Fact: During cervical cancer treatment patients undergo a hysterectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy to the pelvic area but now there are a lot of new treatment options that enable the doctor to spare patients’ fertility so they can become parents.
Doctors can use assisted reproductive technologies to freeze eggs, and they can surgically move the ovaries out of the radiation field to save them from any harm.
Myth 5: Cervical cancer is hereditary.
Fact: Cervical cancer is not hereditary like breast cancer and ovarian cancer. It is caused by HPV infection. To save your child from the infection, make sure they get the HPV vaccine. If you are too old to get HPV vaccine, then make sure you get regular HPV and Pap tests.
Myth 6: The cause of cervical cancer is unknown.
Fact: Most of the cervical cancers are caused by the HPV virus which is a sexually transmitted infection.
Myth 7: If you have HPV, you will develop cervical cancer.
Fact: There are more than 100 strains of HPV virus in which some are high risk for cervical cancer, and some are not. Generally, the body’s immune system clears the virus itself within two years. Only in some cases it does not clear from the body and cause abnormal cell changes in the cervix that you can not see or feel.
Myth 8: I don’t need to get screened because I don’t have any symptoms.
Fact: A screening test is done to find out if there is any abnormal thing going on in the body in the people who are not having any symptoms. When there are symptoms, then the diagnostic test is done to find out the cause of the symptoms. An abnormal cervical cell does not cause any symptoms earlier, but they can be detected during the screening.