I was very lucky. When the third pap smear had come up abnormal, I was told that there were cells present that were potentially cancerous, but after the biopsy, I was deemed fine. Potentially cancerous cells are not too uncommon and most often are caused by HPV which can in fact turn into cancer over time, but mostly go away without treatment of any kind. However, there are the unlucky ones who do develop cancer.
It’s important for women over the age of (in my personal opinion) sixteen to get a pap every year (or as often as the doc recommends as you can now go three years if you get regular paps). It’s also important to get checked out if you notice anything unusual – especially bleeding other than your period. Other signs include a discharge that may contain blood and pain during sex.
There are many risk factors for cervical cancer including: HPV (biggest!), smoking (risk factor for everything!), STDs, long-term use of birth control pills, intrauterine device use, family history, and several more. Treatments vary greatly depending on what stage it was caught at and some decisions the woman wants to make. Survival rates are actually pretty good for cervical cancer, however, as with any cancer, the odds are better the earlier it’s caught.
Here are some helpful links with more information on cervical cancer.
**On a bonus note, Speed Demos Archive is doing a marathon this week Jan 4-10 to raise money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. They raised over a $1,000,000 last year. They have a bunch of speed runner running games new and old such as the latest Mario Kart and old Super Mario games. You can just watch the games or you can watch and donate. We watch it every year (they do a summer one too) and it’s definitely fun and always for a good cause.**