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.