One thing that most people fail to realize is that cervical cancer is an STD. The same Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) that causes genital warts causes it. This is why it is so important for women to get yearly Pap Smears.
Cervical Cancer is an STD
When your doctor does a pap smear, she is taking cells off of your cervix that are sent to the lab to see if any of the cell are cancerous. If the lab finds cancer cells, your doctor will take a closer look at the area through a procedure called a colposcopy. The colposcopy is a procedure that allows the doctor to use vinegar and a microscope to look at your cervix directly. The microscope allows the doctor to magnify the cervix and the vinegar will turn suspected areas of cancer into white patches that the doctor can identify as having cancer cells. During the colposcopy the doctor take a piece of your cervix, or a biopsy, from the areas that turn white during the colposcopy.
This biopsy will be sent to the lab to look for cancer. If the results of the biopsy show that your cervix does have cancerous cells, your doctor will have to remove the part of your cervix that is infected. To do so, your doctor will probably perform a LEEP. The doctor takes a metal loop-like instrument and uses it to burn off the areas of your cervix that have the cancer cells. After this procedure, you will have to come back frequently for Pap smears to make sure that all of the cancer cells have been removed.
The term cervical cancer scares a lot of women. However, the Pap smear was designed to prevent women from dying of cervical cancer. From the moment cancer cells begin to grow on a cervix, it usually takes 8-10 years before the cancer cells usually form a cancer that is deep enough to spread and become deadly. This is why we must get a Pap Smear each year.