To this day cancer sounds like a death sentence to all of us. Cervical cancer is no different, getting its share of myths and proven facts.
As we delve more into this topic, you’ll also read about HPV, the Human papillomavirus, responsible for up to 99% of all cervical cancers and the most common sexually transmitted virus nowadays. We cannot talk about this type of cancer without mentioning HPV.
So, let’s move forward …
Today we’d like to present you 10 of the biggest cervical cancer myths and find out if they are true or not.
Cervical Cancer Myth 1: Only promiscuous women will get HPV
No need to install a chastity belt just yet, as long as you had AT LEAST one sexual partner, you are bound to have been exposed to HPV already. It’s a very common virus, so common that about 80% of women will have had HPV at some point in time, till they reach 50.
This doesn’t mean you should start becoming reckless with your sex life either, but shouldn’t forgo any intimacy just because you fear getting cancer.
Cervical Cancer Myth 2: Cervical cancer is contagious
We found out that HPV is very contagious and easily transmitted through sexual contact with someone already infected. Fortunately for us cancer in general doesn’t spread from one person to another.
Just imagine that we’d get cervical cancer as easily as we’re being infected with the Human papillomavirus … we’d probably go extinct in few years.
Cervical Cancer Myth 3: I have cancer, I’ll surely die
Cancer is not always a death sentence, especially when detected as soon as possible.
We all know that it’s very difficult to ‘beat’, that still many people die of cancer each day, but it’s curable if your oncologist can detect it in the early stages and you are properly treated.
Cervical Cancer Myth 4: I have HPV, I’ll develop cervical cancer
The HPV infection can cause changes in the cervix that could lead to cervical cancer, but just having HPV doesn’t mean you have or will surely get cervical cancer.
The virus usually goes away on its own, as your immune system fights against it.
In some women, though, the infection persists and can cause abnormal cells to form, which can lead to cervical cancer. If there are any pre-cancerous cell changes, they can be detected and treated, so they don’t turn into cancer.
Cervical Cancer Myth 5: Cervical cancer is hereditary
There are cancers that are passed down from parent to child, such breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Cervical cancer is not hereditary, it’s caused by HPV, so the best way to stay protected is to receive the HPV vaccine (as a kid) and get regular Pap tests, that allow your gynecologist to detect any cervix anomalies, before they turn into cancer.
These are the biggest cervical cancer myths we found, would you like to add any new ones to our list?
Losing a pregnancy is a devastating event for any woman, even if the physical recovery is shorter and easier.
A molar pregnancy is an exception to the rule.
Molar pregnancies can lead to serious complications, this is why the patient has to be closely monitored for many months after the treatment – suction curettage, dilation and evacuation (D & C).
In most cases the molar pregnancy is successfully treated, without severe complications, although the added stress can hinder the psychological recovery.
Types of molar pregnancy
Molar pregnancies are caused by a problem with the egg fertilization. Normally, the cells in our body contain 23 pairs of chromosomes (one chromosome from each pair comes from the mother, the other one from the father).
Complete Molar Pregnancy
An egg without any genetic information is fertilized by sperm, but it doesn’t develop into an embryo, it grows like an abnormal tissue, looking like grapes and filling the uterus.
In this case, there is no normal embryo or placenta.
The chromosomes come only from the father (the mother’s chromosomes are inactive/lost after fertilization).
Partial Molar Pregnancy
An egg is fertilized by 2 sperm cells and the placenta turns into mola. The embryo starts developing, but it’s a malformed and won’t survive.
In this case, compared to the complete molar pregnancy, the mother’s chromosomes are active, but the father’s chromosomes are doubling, this results into 69 chromosomes instead of the normal 46.
Approximately 20% of the women who have molar pregnancy can get complications, which can turn severe, unless treatment is applied.
Who is at risk for molar pregnancies?
- women who are under 20 or over 40
- women who had a previous molar pregnancy
- women with a history of miscarriage
- women who smoke, with endocrine imbalance or immune illnesses.
What are the symptoms of a molar pregnancy?
- high hCG levels, increased uterus, enlarged ovaries
- spotting, vaginal bleeding.
- severe nausea and vomiting
How is a molar pregnancy diagnosed and treated?
A pelvic exam will reveal a larger uterus, while a sonogram will show the ‘cluster of grapes’ appearance, the sign of an abnormal placenta.
A molar pregnancy is not a normal pregnancy and will NOT result in a viable fetus. This is why the first step your doctor will take is to remove the mola.
90% of the women who have a mola removed require no further treatment, but there are women who need a closely monitoring of their hCG levels. These are done to ensure there’s no trace of a mola in your body.
You should avoid pregnancy for a year after this procedure.
Can I have another molar pregnancy?
- If you had a molar pregnancy without complications, your risk of having another molar pregnancy is about 1-2%.
- Genetic counseling prior to conceiving again is helpful for some couples.