My 25 year old daughter has had abnormal smear tests for the past 5 years, however, they have always been at the mild stage (CIN 1). She had a test done to determine whether she has a high risk strain and unfortunately it is. The test results mention about a dozen of the high risk strains. I have found out that strains 16 abd 18 are the most dangerous and can cause 70% of cancers. My first question is, can she find out exactly which of the high risk strains she has, and if she does not have strains 16 and 18, can she be vaccinated against them?
She has been advised to have a loop incision to remove a layer of her cervix and as there is no guarantee that the problem will disappear, the doctor has advised her to think about having children sooner rather than later. Her body obviously has not fought off this virus in the last 5 years (although still at the mild cell change stage) and I am concerned as I have read that the virus seems to develop approximately 10 years after conception, so I am worried that she may only have 5 years to have a family before more of the cervix or other parts may need to be removed.
Finally, is there any reassurance that if you catch these cell changes early that it won't develop into invasive cancer. Is it a self-contained cancer that providing the cells are removed, the disease is removed or even if you have a hysterectomy, can the virus still live in your pelvic cavity and spread to other parts of the body. I have read that strains 16 and 18 can spread to other parts of the body. Is this a curable cancer if caught early? I am so worried and don't know if I am justified in feeling that my daughter's future may be under threat.
Oh goodness! Let me see if I can answer some of your questions. Let me start by saying that I only know what I know about HPV and cervical cancer because I was diagnosed with high risk HPV back in January and cervical cancer in April. Prior to January, I knew next to nothing about either. Since then I have read a LOT of information (like from the CDC, etc) and asked a LOT of questions.
Yes, you can request a test that shows which strains of HPV she has, but I don't know the cost of it, if insurance covers it, etc.
If she has not been exposed to the strains of HPV that are in the vaccine and she is under 26 (I think that's the upper edge on age), then it can offer some protection against those strains.
I haven't read any data saying how long it takes from exposure to HPV to the time it begins showing up as dysplasia. Well, maybe it is 5-10 years, I'm not positive. I don't think it is immediate.
Since doctors are beginning to use the HPV/dna test more, I think researchers are learning a lot more about HPV, the speed it develops into dysplasia or later cancer, etc. A good percent of older women are just being diagnosed with HPV. It doesn't mean they are recently exposed to it, it just means it is now being diagnosed.
It is entirely possible that if the dysplasia is removed early enough, then it won't return. It is possible that it will, but I think the chances are quite slim. For many women, a LEEP or cone is diagnostic and treatment. For a smaller percent of women, it is only diagnostic.
Cervical dysplasia, if caught early is treatable (can be removed) and not cause future problems. The 5 year survival rate for Stage 1 cancer is somewhere between 95-99%. The lower end of those numbers are for women who have never had paps, etc. Your daughter most likely does NOT have cancer, so I'd say survival rate is greater than 99%!
Thank you for your response. I live in the UK and I don't think there is as great an awareness here for HPV as in USA. Most people just have smear tests and I don't think the option is widely given to test whether you have a high risk strain.
You answered my questions succinctly and have made me feel that this won't necessarily lead to doom and gloom (though nobody can ever fully take these things for granted).
Tnanks once again for taking the time and effort and I hope all goes well for you.