Every year, thousands of new cases of cervical cancer are reported worldwide. With proper screening, vaccination, and when necessary, treatment, cervical cancer can be prevented. Nearly 80% of all sexually active adults will have the HPV virus at some point in their lives. HPV infection is not a shame and does not reflect on you, your partner, or your lifestyle. HPV is a common virus with numerous subtypes (over 200 known today) that is transmitted only through skin-to-skin contact and not through bodily fluids like Hepatitis or AIDS. It has common skin manifestations that are frequently seen in sun-exposed countries like Greece (warts, lesions, etc.). It usually presents itself like many infections when the body’s defense is compromised due to various factors (stress, poor diet, extreme diets, pregnancy, disrupted circadian rhythms, etc.), or when there are other concurrent microbial infections in the female reproductive system, even asymptomatic ones (Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, Ureaplasma, etc.). Most HPV infections clear up on their own and usually do not show symptoms.

We have classified the various HPV subtypes according to their involvement in carcinogenesis as high-risk, possibly high-risk (intermediate), and low-risk. However, only 14 types are responsible for the majority of cervical cancer cases (85%). Persistent infection with high-risk HPV, in particular, can lead to precancerous or cancerous changes. By checking for the presence of these HPV types, you can learn if you are at risk before any problems arise. Women in monogamous relationships may believe that HPV testing is not necessary for them, but it is. The virus can remain hidden without symptoms in our DNA for many years. This is why we cannot know when, who, or how it was transmitted to us. A woman may not even be aware that she has a mild HPV infection before it progresses and leads to health issues.

Today, there are various screening methods for cervical cancer:

  1. The classic Pap test, which has been used for almost 80 years, checks for the presence of abnormal cell changes.
  2. The evolution of the classic Pap test with Liquid-Based Cytology (LBC), which has been used for 25 years, offers better microscopic examination and simultaneous testing for other factors (HPV DNA, HPV mRNA, Molecular Cultures, or Immunocytochemical tests) using the same sample.
  3. HPV DNA test. Using modern technology, it detects the DNA of high-risk HPV types at a low cost or multiple types at a slightly higher cost to determine if a woman is at risk of developing precancerous or cancerous abnormalities.
  4. P16/Ki67. Immunocytochemical staining that informs us if there are aggressive lesions.
  5. HPV mRNA test. The most recent advancement, which detects the presence of an active subtype from the 14 types classified as high-risk. The tests can be done simultaneously or one after the other, depending on age and medical guidelines.

While the Pap test has been used for many generations, screening for HPV DNA provides greater protection against cervical cancer. In our clinic, we prioritize the most effective prevention methods to ensure the best possible.