Should women be concerned for cervical cancer?

The answer is yes. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer caused by HPV. We know however, that while infection from high-risk types of HPV occurs in a large percentage of the female population, invasive cervical cancer is a rather rare phenomenon. This proves that carcinogenic types of HPV cannot cause cancer on their own. It seems that our body’s tumor suppressor mechanisms must also be deficient in some way.

We know that premalignant lesions usually precede invasive cancer of the cervix. Also, it is proven that carcinogenesis in the cervix is a long process. It usually takes many years (10-30) after infection in women with a healthy immune system. Premalignant lesions develop first, which can be detected by Pap test, HPV test, colposcopy etc. When detected, such lesions are removed.

For these reasons, cervical cancer is rare in countries that implement preventive screening.