A type of cancer that develops in a woman’s cervix (the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina). Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer among women in Malaysia. The good news is that cervical cancer takes a long time to develop, and it is also one of the most preventable types of cancer. 99% of cervical cancer is caused by infection with high-risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV) types.
HPV is so common that most sexually active people will be infected at some point in their life, as HPV is spread through genital skin-to-skin contact during sex.
HPV usually has no symptoms. Often it is cleared from the body naturally.
Yet some types of HPV (known as the high-risk types) may cause cervical cancer if it is not cleared from the body.
Having high-risk HPV does not mean that you will get cancer! For most women, high-risk HPV infection is cleared before it causes any problems. But sometimes the infection persists for a long time and abnormal cells may develop in the cervix. It takes 10-15 years for a persistent infection to progress to cancer, a very slow process. So early detection and treatment of any abnormal cells can prevent cervical cancer.
The conventional Pap smear screening method poses several challenges that can hinder the effectiveness of a screening program. Some of the barriers include:
If Human Papillomavirus (HPV) was detected in your cervical screening test sample, you require follow-up to check that there are no problematic cells present in the cervix – this will involve a colposcopy procedure.