From adolescence to menopause, follow-up is essential. It provides contraception, replacement therapy and cancer screening.
Cervical cancer screening detects dysplastic cells as a precursor of cancer of the uterine neck (cervical cancer), thereby making treatment possible before such cells develop into cancer cells.
Cancer may also be detected. Screening is performed using cells from the cervical neck (PAP smear or PAP test) and possibly a test for the human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that can contribute to the development of cancer if the results from cell analysis make it necessary.
Cell samples for cervical cell analysis (cytology) and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing are obtained during the speculum examination with a cervical brush from the external surface of the cervix (ectocervix) and the cervical canal (endocervix) to evaluate the transformation zone (squamocolumnar junction), the area at greatest risk for dysplasia.
We use liquid-based, thin layer preparation, a method that is suitable for both microscopic analysis and HPV testing.
Liquid-based cytology systems also enable testing for gonorrhea, chlamydia, mycoplasma and ureaplasma from the same specimen.
It is better to perform it than to defer the test, unless bleeding is very heavy. Cleaning the cervix during the speculum exam removes obscuring blood and has a minimal or no effect on sample cellularity.
During the speculum examination we perform a colposcopy, a microscopic examination of the uterine junctional zone. If during this exam we find suspicious lesions, a biopsy (tissue sample) will be taken.
There can be many reasons for a follow-up. You should not hesitate and ask your specialist for further information.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that is spread by skin-to-skin contact, including sexual intercourse (vaginal sex), oral sex, anal sex, or any other contact involving the genital area (eg, hand to genital contact).
Condoms do not provide complete protection from HPV infection because condoms do not cover all exposed genital skin.
It has been estimated that 75 to 80 percent of sexually active adults will acquire HPV infection before the age of 50.
There are numerous human papillomavirus (HPV) genotypes, and their association with cancer risk varies.
For cervical cancer there are two groups depending on their risk for malignancy:
Even if you a have a high risk HPV, you should not worried. It is only considerd as a risk factor.
More than 75% of the population has HPV, and the big majority of the population never have any serious problems.
There are a few types of vaccines existing against the HPV and a vaccinating program is established in Luxembourg. Do not hesitate to discusse this issue with your specialist.