K.P. asks from Athens, GA on September 22, 2009
Seeking People Who Have Had a Normal Pap but Tested Positive for Cervical Virus
Wanted to know if any of you had had a normal pap and tested positive for cervical cancer virus? The nurse said to come back in year? Is this normal or do I need to have it done sooner.
1 mom found this helpful
L.Z. answers from Atlanta on September 23, 2009
There is no cervical cancer virus, first of all. HPV has been linked to certain kinds of cervical cancer, but not all HPV causes it, and not everyone who has HPV will get cancer. It's important to keep perspective.
You would normally go back in a year anyway, for a yearly PAP. It just gives you an awareness that you might be at a higher risk for abnormal cells.
A.W. answers from Sumter on September 22, 2009
I have a virus called HPV which can cause cancer. It is the lead cause for cervical cancer and I have had normal paps for two years now, however the virus never goes away. That is way it is really important to get a pap yearly to make sure that no cancer cells have formed. Hope this helps.
N.K. answers from Atlanta on September 23, 2009
Kathy- it's not cervical cancer virus- it's actually called HPV- google it and read up on it- it's very common and it's a VIRUS-which means it can come back- it does not CAUSE cervial cancer- there is just a greater risk if you have had the virus....it's actually very common. In my opinion, if you stay healthy- take a good multi vitamin, manage your stress (don't smoke - drink in moderation - eat junk in moderation) it will take care of itself.
I hate that they have made a "vaccine" for this VIRUS for young girls- there have been adverse reactions- why not preach absitnence instead of saying this vaccine will help protect against this virus////
Listen to your Dr. - go back in a year - it wll more than likely be gone by then- and remember it's a virus- it CAN come back....
C.G. answers from Augusta on September 23, 2009
HPV is the virus that causes most (99%) of cervical cancer. It is also extremely common- it is estimated that between 65-80% of the population have HPV. Not everyone has symptoms. Interestingly the strains that cause cervical cancer generally do not have the symptoms (namely condoloma or genital warts) and the ones that cause the symptoms do not typically cause cancer. There are multiple types with some being high risk and some being low risk.
The standard of care is for a woman to have her first pap smear at least three years after the first time she has sex or age 21, whichever comes first. Then pap smears should be performed annually until age 30. HPV is only tested for if the pap smear comes back abnormal. Then at age thirty a woman should be tested for HPV in addition to having a pap smear. If both pap smear and HPV test are negative then a pap smear should be performed only every three years and HPV test based on risk. If your HPV test came back positive your provider should have told you which type you have, high risk or low risk. Only women with abnormal pap smears are tested sooner or treated. HPV is a virus that in younger women (under 30) is often cleared completely and is never an issue. In older women it is more often problematic, but still only an issue in a very small percentage of the population.
Things that increase your risk of cervical cancer are smoking and sex with many partners. Most cases of cervical cancer are caught very early and entirely treatable. If you have additional questions you should definitely call your health care provider back and get some answers, that's what they are there for :) I am a women's health care provider and deal with this issue frequently.
Also, if you are unsatisfied with your curent provider (sounds like they are not very professional if the nurse is giving you a diagnosis- NOT OKAY-- and they are not answering all of your questions) Planned Parenthood is an excellent place to get women's health care because they specialize in it, unlike an OB/GYN who usually devotes most of their energy to OB.
K.B. answers from Atlanta on September 23, 2009
I have tested positive for HPV, the strain that causes cervical cancer, back in 1998. Had to have a biopsy and then leep performed to be rid of it. But the only way we knew to do these was because of an abnormal pap. Since then, all my paps have been normal. So I am confused - have you tested positive for HPV but still have normal paps, or did you at one time have an abnormal pap? there are many different strains of HPV. the kind that causes warts for instance, is not the kind that causes cervical cancer. Maybe you should get a second opinion.
here is a great website:http://www.cdc.gov/STD/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm
D.T. answers from Atlanta on September 23, 2009
You may have the virus but that does not mean it has, or will, cause your cervical cells to mutate. The virus is a cause of cervical cancer, but it does not mean you will have cervical cancer. I had an abnormal pap at 19, had the LEEP done at 20, and haven't had an abnormal pap in 14 years. Having another pap in a year should be adequate.
S.B. answers from Atlanta on September 23, 2009
I just had the same thing happen to me. My pap came back normal but I tested positive for HPV. I tested positive for the HPV that causes cervical cancer - not the one that causes genital warts. My GYN said the same thing. Come back for your next yearly check up. If after the year, the HPV comes back positive then they would do further tests. She said it was a very common virus. I freaked out though because I haved only had sex with my husband and he had only been with one person before me. We have been married almost 15 years and together for 19 years.