Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papilloma wart virus (HPV). Fifty percent of North American women will eventually become infected with HPV. A study from Sweden shows that 92 percent of women infected with this cancer-causing virus cure themselves and do not develop cervical cancer.

A woman does not need to be sexually active to become infected with the human wart virus. She can get it from a wart on her hand rubbing on her genitals. Only four to six of the more than 60 types of genital warts cause cancer. Small bumps on the genitals and chronic genital irritation can be caused by warts.

All women should be get yearly PAP smears to check for early changes of the cervix that may become cancerous. Those with genital warts and those with abnormal PAP smears can get a human papillomavirus deoxyribonucleic acid test to tell if they have a persistent wart infection and whether the wart is likely to become cancerous. See my report on Abnormal PAP Smears.

K Elfgren, M Kalantari, B Moberger, B Hagmar, J Dillner. A population-based five-year follow-up study of cervical human papillomavirus infection. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2000, Vol 183, Iss 3, pp 561-567Address Elfgren K, Huddinge Univ Hosp, Dept Obstet & Gynecol, K57, S-14186 Huddinge, SWEDEN

Checked 9/3/05

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