The infection from the Human Papilloma Viruses Is common among women. Usually, it subsides overtime.
But in a case that there is a chronic infection from a group of HPV viruses that are called high risk and could cause cancer, there may be pre-cancerous distortions that could later evolve to cancer.
In order to investigate if there are unfortunate outcomes from HPV infection or clearly for preventive reasons, the woman must perform a series of examinations.
The danger for cancer from HPV concerns the woman’s lower genetic track and, mostly, the woman’s cervix. The vulva and vagina are in less danger.
HPV infects the epithelial cells which cover the organs. The diagnostic examinations that the doctor orders are: gynecologic examination, Pap smear, colposcopy, biopsy etc.
Since by simple examination the distortions are not clear, unless they are spreaded, unfortunately, proper prevention mandates to find precancerous conditions that are treatable, that are located superficially and only include the epithelial cells.
During a Pap smear we test the epithelial cells from the surface of the uterine cervix and the vagina and then we study them under a microscope. In the case that we find “atypical” cells, we perform further examination with colposcopy and biopsy.
During a colposcopy we test the surface of the cervix epithelium under strong lighting and in magnification, in order to detect suspicious areas. If we find any suspicious distortions, we collect biopsy, in order to study in detail, the tissue under the microscope and have a precise diagnosis. In some cases, the doctor will request to search for the DNA of the HPV virus (HPV DNA test).
Except for the HPV DNA test, the other molecular tests (mRNA, p16, Ki-67 etc.) are being done under specific circumstances and when it is advisable. It is clear that no examination on its own is complete and does not offer diagnostic coverage of 100%.
The doctor will be in position to advise the woman according to her age and her medical history as to which examinations she must perform and decide according to the findings if she needs further check.