There are an estimated 20 million Americans currently infected with the Human Papilloma Virus, commonly referred to as HPV.  Some strains of the HPV virus cause genital warts and can be easily removed using topical agents, minor surgery, or a method of freezing called cryotherapy.  These strains don’t usually progress to serious diseases.  High-risk strains of HPV on the other hand are the known cause of nearly all cervical cancers and some throat, oral, and anal cancers.

More than 23% of women in the US are infected with the high-risk strains of HPV, with approximately 10,800 new cases of HPV associated cervical cancer diagnosed each year.  It is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and fourth leading cause of cancer death in females worldwide.

What can you do to prevent cervical cancer?  The answers are simple:

  • Keep your number of sexual partners low.  Studies show that lifetime sexual partners greater than 3 have increased risk.
  • Don’t smoke cigarettes.  Tobacco has an immunosuppressive effect in addition to a high level of carcinogens.  This can prevent your body from clearing HPV infections and cause direct DNA damage.
  • Use protection during intercourse, especially if you are not in a monogamous relationship.
  • Practice stress management.  Higher levels of perceived stress are associated with lower clearance of HPV viruses and increased development of cancer.
  • Schedule regular paps.  If you’re under 30 and have never had an abnormal result, you should repeat your pap every three years.  If you’re over 30 years of age and have never had an abnormal pap, repeat your pap every five years and add on a high-risk HPV test.

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month.  If you are a woman and haven’t had a pap in a while, schedule an appointment with your physician.  We can prevent cervical cancer by following the routine screening guidelines and with lifestyle modification.   If you have been diagnosed with cervical cancer or pre-cancerous changes, schedule an appointment with your naturopathic physician.  There is an extremely effect oral HPV protocol that uses high doses of antioxidants like green tea extract and vitamin E to support your body and rid it of HPV.  There is also vaccination using the Gardasil vaccine that may benefit some individuals.  Talk with your naturopathic doctor to determine the best approach for you to prevent cervical cancer.


1 Comment

  1. I have Cervical Cancer so I have been doing a lot of reading on the sujbcet. Just like yourself, I did not have insurance and was unable to keep up with my Pap Smears. Before being diagnosed with Cervical Cancer, I had not had a Pap Smear in 9 years I always worried what would happen by not being able to have it done and now I know I ended up having to go to the Health Department in my county to have a Pap Smear. I also had to lie in order to have it done for free I would highly suggest going to the Health Department once a year for a free or very low cost Pap Smear. Although it CAN take 10 years for Cervical Cancer to develop, it can also take much less time which is exactly why Pap Smears are normally done annually. Also to answer your other question, Cervical Cancer is one of the slowest growing (spreading) cancers that there are. As for how fast they can grow or how slow, I cannot say for sure but I have read many times that it is one of the slowest growing and most cureable. However, just because it is one of the cureable does not mean that the battle fighting it is any easier, physically or emotionally. Having Cervical Cancer is extremely stressful on the person as well as the people who love them. Please find a way to get yourself checked. My symptoms began with bleeding during / after sex, then some mild to moderate pelvic pains, sometimes I get very sharp pains now, also I have had bleeding in between periods, and become very light headed at times, I also have nausea and occasional vomiting. Keep in mind though that most of these symptoms did not start until I had already had one symptom for five months. Good luck and I really hope you are able to have a Pap Smear and an HPV test done as soon as possible.

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