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Dysplasia; Human papillomas virus; Pap smear
Cervical Cancer and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
The human papilloma virus (HPV) is the main cause and risk factor of cervical cancer. HPV, which also causes genital warts, is spread primarily through sexual contact. About half of all sexually active young women become infected with the virus, but only 10% remain infected for more than 5 years.
The risk for cervical cancer is highest for women who have persistent long-term infection with one of the two high-risk strains of HPV. Half of all cervical cancer diagnoses occur in women ages 35 - 55.
The HPV vaccine Gardasil is approved to prevent (not treat) cervical cancer in girls and women ages 9 - 26. The vaccine protects against HPV strains that cause most cases of cervical cancer.
Pap Smear Screening
Regular Pap tests are the best way to ensure that cervical cancer is caught in its earliest stage before developing into invasive cancer.
The HPV DNA test is useful for:
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