Many things can trigger your risk of cancer regardless of your race, gender, or age.
However, being involved in unprotected sexual activities can put you at risk of sexually transmitted diseases. One of these being the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which has been linked to cervical cancer.
What is HPV?
Most people might be surprised that HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. There are more than 100 types of HPV, 14 of which are cancer-causing types. HPV is split into two types; low risk and high risk.
Low-risk HPV can result in a person having genital warts on their genitalia, while high-risk HPV types can occur in both men and women, causing cervical, throat, and anal cancer.
You might be likely to be infected at some point in your life
Human papillomavirus maybe one of the most common viral infections of the reproductive tract, but one thing that many people may not know is that it affects sexually active men and women who may be infected at some point in their lives.
According to the World Health Organisation, some people may be repeatedly infected. You are most likely at a higher risk shortly after you have become sexually active. Although HPV will not be transmitted through touching someone, it is can be transmitted through:
Skin-to-skin genital contact
How is HPV linked to cervical cancer?
Consulting a professional medical practitioner can help clear the infection with the right treatment. It usually takes two years to have about 90% of the infection cleared. A small proportion of the infection could persist, developing into cervical cancer.
Pre-cancerous lesions usually clear up once you have been treated, but pre-cancerous lesions can develop into invasive cervical cancer. It takes 15 to 20 years for cervical cancer to develop in women with normal immune systems.
How it can be treated
Prevention for the HPV virus can begin for people as young as 9 years old, but there are different preventions for various age groups. For children who are 9 – 14 years old, it’s advisable to get an HPV vaccination.
You could also teach your child about safe sex and circumcise males. Women who are 30 years and older need to go for regular screenings through a pap smear test or begin immediate treatment.
If you have already developed cervical cancer, you will be advised by your medical practitioner in terms of what will happen next. This could be surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or palliative care.
Always remember to go for regular doctor’s appointments to test and screen your health which can lead to early detection before things get worse.