Human papillomavirus, or HPV is very common. There are more that 100 subtypes of the virus but only some of them cause cancer.
Up to 80% of women will be infected by the HPV by the age of 50. Most types of the virus are not dangerous because our immune system overcomes it and stops the infection within a period of two years. However, there are dangerous types that can potentially cause cancer, mainly cervical cancer. The doctor suggests HPV testing when there is indication. HPV Test and Pap Test are two different tests. HPV test detects a woman’s risk to develop cervical cancer in the future. On the other hand, Pap Test detects the presence of abnormal – pathological cervical cells at a specific time.
― Do I have to take a test for HPV types 16 and 18?
If your Pap Test is normal but your HPV test is positive, your doctor will recommend HPV type 16 or 18 identification.
― Does the HPV test replace Pap test?
No. The HPV test offers information that are assessed by the doctor together with the Pap test in order to estimate whether there is risk of cancer.
― If I vaccinate for HPV, do I still need the regular Pap test and HPV test check up?
The vaccination does not cover all HPV types. Therefore, there is risk for women to suffer from cancer even when they are vaccinated. Therefore, a regular Pap Test and HPV Test check up is necessary. All three together, the vaccination, the Pap test and the HPV test, offer better prevention against cervical cancer.
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