Cervical Cancer: 10 Myths and Facts You Should Know

Cervical cancer occurs in the cervix and is usually caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection. There are many myths causing confusion for women so here’s what you need to know.

Myth 1: Cervical cancer is untreatable

Fact: Early detection contributes to effective treatment.

Myth 2: HPV is not common, and it only affects people who have multiple partners. As a result, I should not worry about getting the HPV vaccine or Pap test.

Fact: HPV infection is widespread; it affects approximately 80% of men and women.

Myth 3: Older women don’t need Pap smears

Fact: Women from age 25 and above need regular Pap smears.

Myth 4: Smoking can’t cause cervical cancer

Fact: Smoking increases your risk of contracting the disease.

Myth 5: You need an annual Pap test

Fact: There is no need to test every year if your Pap & HPV test results are normal. Here are the age guidelines:

21-29: every 3 years

30-64: Pap and HPV test every 5 years

65+: Ask your doctor if you need to test at all.

Myth 6: Your body clears HPV infection on its own

Fact: HPV clears up on its own in some cases. However, the infection can also persist and lead to serious health problems like genital warts & many types of cancer.

Myth 7: Cervical cancer is hereditary.

Fact: HPV causes this cancer so it is not hereditary. Ensure you and women you know, get the vaccine to avoid infection.

Myth 8: Cervical cancer does not have a known cause

Fact: The HPV virus causes most cervical cancers through sexual intercourse.

Myth 9: You will develop cervical cancer if you have HPV.

Fact: There are more than 100 strains of HPV. Some are high risk and some are not. Generally, the body’s immune system clears the virus itself within two years.

Myth 10: Screening is unnecessary if you don’t have symptoms.

Fact: Screenings are done to check if there is any abnormality in the body. You can detect abnormal cervical cells during screening even if they haven’t caused any symptoms yet.

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