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Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Message Board

Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Board Index

Hi Blonder! Don't feel bad about the questions. That's how you learn and we've all been there. I'll try to answer them as best as I can...Yes, HPV can live in your body for a long time before it shows itself. In fact, it's estimated that 70-80% of adults have had HPV by the time they are 50. Most of us fight the virus off, but some of us don't, which is when the abnormal Paps come in to play. I had HPV for 6 years before having an abnormal Pap.

While, we can have dysplasia (pre-cancer) or cancer from HPV, men typically do not have any symptoms. They are carriers as we are, so it's easy to transmit without knowing it. Condoms don't offer enough protection from the virus either. Warts -- even those not on your genitals -- are also HPV. There are thousands of strains of the virus that cause different kinds of warts.

A LEEP is one type of treatment for dysplasia in which a small cone-shaped section of your cervix is removed to get rid of the abnormal cells. There are other options for treatment such as cyrotherapy (freezing the cells) if the dysplasia is mild. Many doctors just "wait and see" also if it's mild and do a repeat Pap in a few months because many cases of mild dysplasia clear up on their own. If it is more severe, doctors may recommend a cone biopsy which is like the LEEP but is done under general anesthesia and removes a larger section. I've had two cone biopsies because I had early stage cancer, which was thankfully caught by my annual Pap.

I hope this is at least a start to helping you on your journey to gain some insight. Never feel bad for questions. Knowledge is power!

Take care!

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