HPV and Cervical Cancer: Key Things Women Should Know

August 2, 2011

Cervical cancer is preventable. Early detection of pre-cancerous changes - through screening - is key.

  • Cervical cancer is preventable. Early detection of pre-cancerous changes - through screening - is key.
  • Cervical cancer is shown to be caused by a virus - HPV (human papillomavirus). Of the approximately 70 types of HPV, there are 13 types known as "high-risk" types, that are associated with cervical cancer. HPV is more common in women under age 30 and almost always clears on its own.
  • Most women will have HPV at some point, but very few will develop cervical cancer. When a woman's immune system is working normally, only HPV infection that is persistent over many years can lead to cervical cancer.
  • It can be helpful to know your HPV status. This can help determine whether or not you are at "lower risk," as advised by your healthcare provider.
  • Don't blame. Your HPV status is not a reliable indicator of your, or your partner's, sexual behavior.