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National Cervical Cancer Coalition

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:01 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 8:58 pm
Posts: 1
I have been battling atypical pap smears, cervical cancer and HPV for 9 years. I am about to have a total hysterectomy to irraticate the problem. I am lucky enough to say I beat the odds. A Gynecological Oncologist at Albert Einstein in the Bronx told me back in 98 that I had 3-5 years to have my children and that I would probably need a Hysterectomy by the time I turned 40. I turned 40 in November and I have 3 beautiful children to live for now. I have gone from being told that whether I had cervical cancer or not was a matter of semantics (based on what level it invaded in my cells), to atypical and grade 1 paps. I have had 3 leeps and multiple colposcopys. With my twins pregnancy, I needed a stitch put in because my cervix was so compromised.

So, here's my dilemma. Now that my doctor and I have finally decided to go ahead with the Hysterectomy, he seems to be backing down and talking about treating it by watching, waiting and seeing agian. He is also taking about how the HPV in my system may not be the original strain and how, even if I have the surgery, I can still get vaginal or anal cancer. I am not sure why the change of heart or if he is just covering himself in case something happens.

I am married and have been faithfully with my husband for 11 years. Why would he think that I had another strain of HPV? Before my husband, I had only one lover, though I did date and had physical contact with other men. Is he suggesting that I have more than one strain of HPV in my system? Yikes! I am so confused. :?

Lastly, can HPV make you more susceptable to other things? I am constantly sick and run down and get colds frequently (yes, I do have 3 kids 7 and under and work full time). I continually have pain in the lower left side of my abdomon too. Could any of this be related?

Thanks for your help and attention in all these questions.

Sorry to bombard you. :(

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 3:03 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: North Carolina
Hello laniek,

Welcome to our message boards. You have been through a lot the past few years, to say the least, and I'm sorry things have been so difficult.

We aren't able to offer specific medical advice, and the proper course of action with abnormal cervical cell changes depends on a number of factors, including size, location, distribution of lesions. We can tell you that cervical cancer can usually be avoided, and sometimes a "watch and wait" approach is reasonable., especially with mild/moderate cervical cell changes More severe abnormalities, and those that are persistent and don't regress naturally, are usually treated but here again the exact treatment option can vary.

Ask your doctor to explain why he thinks one approach may be preferred over another. If you go with a "watch and wait" approach, it might be helpful to ask how frequently you'll need follow up exams and at what point will the decision be made that treatment is indicated.

It isn't clear why your doctor may think you have a different type of HPV now. This might be based on the fact that HPV infections USUALLY don't persist and recur for many years, but of course sometimes this does happen. Maybe talk with your health care provider to see if there are any lifestyle issues you can address that may help bolster your immune response. For example, much research has shown that smoking can make it more difficult to clear HPV infections.

As for vaginal and vulvar cancers, these do occur but fortunately not very often. There is an excellent article in a back issue of HPV News, our bimonthly journal, that discusses this. You can also review a wealth of information on the Web site of the American Cancer Society at (type "vulvar" and "vaginal" cancer into the search box) regarding vulvar and vaginal cancer screening, symptoms, treatment, and so forth. Vulvar and vaginal cell changes, when they're detected, are very often managed with a "watch and wait" approach.

Finally, I've never heard that HPV infection itself makes one more susceptible to other conditions like colds or fatigue. Most likely such things are not related to HPV but ask your doctor about anything you're experiencing about which you're not certain.

I hope this helps. Thanks for sharing your story with us and post again anytime.

All the best,

ASHA Moderator

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