What Causes Cervical Cancer Other Than HPV

Human Papillomavirus: Transmission & Spread

HP viruses are spread all over the world

About 80% of all sexually active people will go through an HPV infection at least once in their life. An infection is only accompanied by symptoms in very rare cases. In 90% of infected women, these infections heal within a period of up to 2 years without therapy and without consequences. About 10% of affected women remain permanently infected and can develop cell changes in the cervix. Only around 1-3% of these cell changes develop into cervical cancer over a period of at least 10 years - the rest usually heal without therapy.

Sexually active and young people aged 25 and under are the most likely to become infected. Theoretically, infection is possible during the first sexual intercourse. The age of the first sexual intercourse also plays a role, since the skin of the vagina in young girls is still quite thin, i.e. only a few cell layers thick, and microscopic injuries can therefore occur more easily, which the viruses use as a portal of entry.

According to estimates, around 6 million women in Germany are infected with the human papilloma virus. Several hundred thousand women develop a preliminary stage of cervical cancer each year and around 5,000 women in Germany develop cervical cancer every year. If the disease is detected early enough, the chances of a cure are almost 100% - but every year> 1600 women die of cervical cancer.

Increased risk of cancer from HPV infections

High-risk HPV types are not removed by the immune system after about every 10th infection, but remain permanently, i.e. longer than 6 to 18 months, in the infected (tissue, mucous membrane) epithelium. In this case, one speaks of a persistent infection, which is a prerequisite for the development of cancer. Infections that disappear spontaneously after a while, however, do not increase the risk of cancer. If high-risk types are still detectable after 18 months, there is a risk of developing problematic cell changes. Such an infection with human papillomavirus, which can last for several years, can lead to cancer precursors (so-called dysplasias, intraepithelial neoplasias). In women infected with high-risk types, dysplasias develop in 5 to 30% of cases.

Infection with low-risk types does not increase the risk of developing cervical cancer later. But it can also have unpleasant, if harmless (not carcinogenic) consequences in the form of genital warts in the genital and anal area.