Hospiten reminds us that the Human Papilloma Virus is the cause of almost 100% of cases of cervical cancer and it is therefore important to see a doctor regularly and to be vaccinated, within the framework of the celebration of World Cervical Cancer Prevention Day, which takes place next March 26. By consulting a doctor, abnormal cells can be detected before they become cancer and can then be eliminated.
"By means of vaginal cytology we can detect any lesions in the cervix and provide a prompt solution to the problem," explains Dr. Maria Dolores Perez-Jaraiz, of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Service at the Hospiten Rambla University Hospital. Pre-cancerous phases can be successfully treated with minimal sequelae, but there are no obvious symptoms or signs in this phase, so the cancer can only be detected by screening by means of a cytology.
To detect this type of lesion, a colposcopy is usually carried out: this is an exploration of the vaginal canal and the cervix using an optical instrument. This visual examination allows abnormalities to be detected and, if necessary, for a biopsy to be performed (the removal of a small sample of the abnormal area which will be sent to the laboratory for analysis).
Vaccination is still the most effective way of preventing this disease and is included in the vaccination schedule for girls in our country from 12 years of age. “For the moment the vaccination is not financed for the males, but it is equally important that they be vaccinated since men can suffer from cancer in the anogenital region”.
However, the specialist emphasizes that HPV vaccination does not eliminate the need to go for a check-up. Cytologies in women of between 25 and 65 years of age should be carried out annually with the exception of women with two normal results for two consecutive years, who may attend check-ups every three years. "This does not exempt patients from cytology screening - with the vaccine, the risk is reduced, but not 100% eliminated," says Perez-Jaraiz.
The use of condoms is also essential for the prevention of STDs in general and HPV, since it is the recommended method to reduce Sexually Transmitted Diseases.