HPV and Cervical Cancer

The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) does not in itself cause cancer, but some strains of HPV (there are more than 100 strains in total) can cause abnormal cells to grow in the skin of the cervix, and these cells can eventually develop into cervical cancer.

As the HPV virus attacks human membrane tissue (moist internal areas of skin) it can also cause abnormal cell changes in the mouth lining, and the throat. These cell changes are known medically as “dysplasia.”

An HPV infection is often symptomless and self healing

The majority of people contract an HPV infection at some stage of their lives. It is more prevalent in the young and this may because as we age our immune systems may become more adept at dealing with it. HPV is spread by direct skin to skin contact and it can therefore be considered to be an STI.

An HPV infection seldom presents symptoms and it very often self heals therefore the vast majority of people who suffer an infection (up to 80% of the world population) remain blissfully unaware. At Broadgate GP we offer HPV testing and treatment in complete confidence at our Sexual Health and Well Women clinic.

The strains of HPV associated with cervical cancer

The most common strains of HPV associated with dysplasia and cervical cancer are:

  • HPV strain 16
  • HPV strain 18
  • HPV strain 31
  • HPV strain 33
  • HPV strain 45

These strains are all described as “high risk,” with strains 16 and 18 being responsible for approximately 70% all cases of cervical cancer. To put things in perspective however it is important to understand that the vast majority of women who do have a high risk HPV infection do not develop cervical cancer.

If you are diagnosed with borderline/mild cell changes

If borderline/mild cell changes are detected in your routine cervical smear (Pap) test, you will be offered an HPV test. If you test positive for high risk strains of HPV you will be offered a Colposcopy to examine your cervix more closely.

If you test negative for an HPV infection there will be no further action other than monitoring you through your regular cervical smear (Pap) tests over the next 3 to 5 years, depending on your age.

Cervical smear (Pap) testing and HPV testing via Broadgate Clinic London Wall

If you live and/or work in London, and am sufficiently concerned about your personal risk from HPV and cervical cancer that you would like to be tested in between or instead of the NHS national screening program, why not call in at the well women health services here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall?

We operate a walk-in, no appointment necessary service, for maximum convenience from 08:00 to 18:30 Monday to Thursday, and 08:00 to 17:30 on Fridays.