Hawaii Women's Healthcare
Obstetrics & Gynecology & Aesthetic Specialists located in Honolulu, HI
According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, cervical cancer strikes more than 13,000 U.S. women each year. The good news is that routine screening and treating the abnormal cells can prevent the formation of cervical cancer well before it ever develops. The doctors at Hawaii Women's Healthcare, located in Honolulu, provide human papillomavirus (HPV) screening as well as evaluation, management, and prevention with a vaccination. Book your appointment online or call today.
HPV Q & A
What is human papillomavirus (HPV)?
HPV is the name for a group of over 150 associated viruses, which are commonly identified by a number. HPVs are drawn to cells in moist areas of the body and on the surface of the skin, such as the:
- Inner foreskin of the penis
- Lining of the mouth, nose and throat
HPVs are grouped into two basic categories.
Low-risk HPVs cause genital warts in both men and women. These warts usually appear around the anus or the genitals for both genders, but can also develop in the cervix and vagina in women.
High-risk HPVs can develop into cancer over time. Since the host cells containing the virus go through a series of changes from pre-cancerous to cancerous, the doctors at Hawaii Women's Healthcare may recommend HPV screening.
Is there a difference between an HPV screening and a Pap smear?
Yes. Although an HPV screening and a Pap smear are both early detection protocols they are distinctly different tests.
During a Pap smear, sometimes referred to as a Pap test, the doctor looks for changes in the cells of the cervix. During the examination, the doctor “scraps” or collects cells and sends them off to a laboratory to be tested. An abnormal reading indicates that changes in the cells have been detected. It’s important to note that not all detected changes will lead to cancer, however, carefully monitoring the changes with your doctor is crucial to preventing conditions that can lead to cancer.
An HPV screening or test just looks for the presence of the virus, not changes in the cells. During this screening a sample is collected much like during a Pap smear. Sometimes your doctor will do both a Pap smear and an HPV screening at the same time. This is referred to as co-testing. Co-testing is usually done for women aged 30 and older. It provides a great way to detect pre-cancers or early cervical cancer.
How often should I get an HPV screening?
The current national recommendation for HPV screening for cervical cancer is every three years for women aged 21 to 29 years and every five years for women 30 to 65 years. HPV screening is not recommended for women younger than 21 years.
To learn more about cervical cancer screening and HPV, contact Hawaii Women's Healthcare in Honolulu. Book online or call today.