Cervical cancer occurs in the cervix and is usually caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection. Simple and straightforward yeah? Unfortunately, that’s not the case because there are many cervical cancer myths causing confusion for women. Here’s what you need to know.
Myth 1: Cervical cancer is untreatable.
Fact: It can be effectively treated if detected early.
Myth 2: HPV is not common, and it only affects people who have multiple partners, so I should not worry about the HPV vaccine or Pap test.
Fact: HPV infection is widespread; it affects 80% of men and women approximately.
Myth 3: Older women don’t need Pap smears.
Fact: Women from age 25 and above need regular Pap smears
Myth 4: Smoking is linked to other forms of cancer but not cervical cancer.
Fact: Smoking increases the risk of cervical cancer.
Myth 5: You need an annual Pap test.
Fact: If your Pap & HPV test are normal, there is no need to test every year. 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: HPV infection gets clear from the body on its own.
Fact: In some cases, HPV clears up on its own. However, the infection can persist and can lead to serious health problems such as genital warts, as well as and many types of cancer.
Myth 7: Cervical cancer is hereditary.
Fact: Cervical cancer is not hereditary like breast cancer and ovarian cancer because it is caused by HPV infection. To save your child from the infection, make sure they get the HPV vaccine.
Myth 8: The cause of cervical cancer is unknown.
Fact: Most cervical cancers are caused by the HPV virus which is a sexually transmitted infection.
Myth 9: If you have HPV, you will develop cervical cancer.
Fact: There are more than 100 strains of HPV; some are high risk for cervical cancer and some are not. Generally, the body’s immune system gets rid of the virus itself within two years.
Myth 10: I don’t need to get screened because I don’t have any symptoms.
Fact: Screenings are done to check if there is any abnormality in the body. An abnormal cervical cell may not cause any symptoms yet, but it can be detected during screening.
Cervical cancer is easy to contract and spread but with the correct information, early testing, and vaccination, you can prevent it and ensure your loved ones are protected.