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National Cervical Cancer Coalition


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:55 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:37 pm
Posts: 3
Hello,

I'm hoping I can find comfort on this board. I'm 25 years old, lost my virginity 3 months ago went to the doctor who told me my blood was normal, pap was normal, but I tested positive for high risk HPV.

The nurse told me to look up my information on the internet and come back for a repeat pap in 6 months. I'm looking into getting a new doctor because of the way I was told, but is it normal to test in my age group? If my pap was normal now does that mean it's because the virus has only been with me for a few months? Is it normal for them to ask me back in 6 months?

From what I've read they usually don't test under 25 because more than likely the virus is cleared. This is of course true for high risk types as well? I've always eaten healthy, slept well, taken vitamins and I try to run everyday after work. But now I worry that everytime I get a sniffle that my immune system is down and I'm not going to fight this virus. And that I might have the strand that specifically causes cancer and it won't go away! I'm very scared!


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:58 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: North Carolina
Hi and thanks for posting.

You're right that it's not usual for a woman under 30 with a normal Pap test to also be given an HPV test, but if you have any questions about this ask your health care provider. A woman who tests positive for HPV will usually be seen again in 6-12 months.

Most women with any type of HPV - including so-called "high risk" types - will NEVER have an abnormal Pap test as a result, and very few cases will result in persistent precancerous cell changes. Cervical cancer is a rare outcome of "high risk" HPV infection and can be prevented in virtually every case by the right combination of screening (such as Paps) and, when needed, treatment.

Most HPV infections clear naturally in 6-2 months. Women who do have difficulty fighting off an HPV infection often have something going on such as 1) they smoke or 2) they have some condition that weakens the immune system (common colds and routine stuff aren't a worry here). Family history and, possibly, diet and stress can play a role.

I hope this helps. Please post again if you have other questions.

Best,
Fredo

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:30 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:37 pm
Posts: 3
Hi Fredo,

Thanks so much for your response. I've just been seeing quite a few younger women on here and boards like these who have had cancer develop--so this has been a hard thing for me to come to terms with. Especially since I shouldn't of been tested. (Of course it's good I know, but it saves me a lot of stress being in the dark).

Is there any research of why most infections go away but some don't? Does the type of strain have something to do with that? And if so, is there a test to find out which strain I have?

Also, do men rid themselves of the disease similar to women?

Thanks for answering my questions. I'm hoping this board will help me stay positive.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:29 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: North Carolina
It isn't clear why infections persist in some women, and not others. It could relate to factors that include genetics/family history, diet, smoking, stress, and so on. Even with infections that don't clear quickly, cervical cancer can still be avoided with regular Pap tests.

There is an HPV test new to the market, Cervista, that can tell if a woman with high-risk HPV has one of the types found in about 70% of cervical cancers (HPV 16 and 18, respectively). This test is also not approved for routine use in women your age, but you can ask your doctor if you have any questions.

As for men, what data there is indicates they acquire and clear HPV at similar rates as women.

Hope this helps. Do post anytime!

Best,
Fredo

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:41 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:37 pm
Posts: 3
Hi Fredo,

Thanks for answering my questions. I was also wondering, you mentioned family history as one of the possibilities that cervical cancer could form. What kind of family history?

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:34 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: North Carolina
That just means that if a woman has a history of cervical cancer in her family, she's more likely to develop the disease herself compared to those who don't have close female relatives with cervical cancer.

It doesn't mean a woman will develop cancer, or is even likely to do so. Just that compared to others, her risk may be greater. However, cervical cancer is still preventable in virtually every case, and this means having regular Pap tests and, if appropriate and health care provider recommended, HPV tests.

What are some of the family factors? Researchers aren't entirely sure; it may be that like some other conditions, cervical cancer just tends to run more often in some families. Also, there are lifestyle/enviromental factors; for example, smoking can play a role, as can some inflammatory conditions (STDs like chlamydia). Some families are in social or economic conditions that make such factors more likely to be an issue for them.

Read more on the website of the American Cancer Society at
http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/conte ... ncer_8.asp

Best,
Fredo

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