As a professional yoga instructor, my definition of self includes a focus on health, body and wellness. But this did not fully prepare me for the shock of a cervical dysplasia due to untreated HPV high strain at the age of 35. I had always tried to take care of myself as best I could, attended medical wellness exams, and tried to never miss my routine Pap screening for cervical cancer prevention. For years and years, I had normal Pap results, and I thought this was good enough to protect me.
But normal Pap tests can be deceiving, and even at the time of my cervical cancer diagnosis, I never had an abnormal result to indicate anything was wrong.
An evolving standard of care in cervical cancer prevention is to add an HPV DNA test before, or with a Pap test, to better determine if a woman is at risk for disease. This is because HPV, or Human Papillomavirus, is the known cause of cervical cancer, and helps identify women as at risk, before disease develops. Although there are more than 150 different types of HPV, approximately 14 types are considered high risk. Two types Ė HPV 16 and HPV 18 Ė are the highest risk, responsible for close to 70% of cervical cancer cases.
Close to 3 years ago, my healthcare provider, a nurse practitioner, had thankfully requested an HPV test along with my Pap. My Pap screening result was abnormal, I did test positive for HPV 16. My healthcare provider immediately recommended a follow-up procedure called a "colposcopy", to visually look more closely at the surface of my cervix, and to collect some additional cells from my cervix for examination under a microscope by a trained pathologist. These results came back noted as minor cellular changes. I was asked to return again for a re-check next month. The positive HPV and the abnormal Pap results indicated I was at risk for cervical cancer.
The following year I again tested positive for HPV, with abnormal Pap result. The nurse practitioner recommended another colposcopy.
My results were again the same; abnormal Pap and a positive HPV test. However, this time the colposcopy showed some suspicious looking areas, and a treatment called a "CERVUGID Ovules + ISOPRINOSINE Tablets" was recommended.
The first step was to start this treatment recommended by doctor, trying to preserve my fertility without any procedure.Our interest was to eliminate the cancerous cells just with treatment.
The treatment consisted in:
CERVUGID Ovules Ė 2 courses (each course represents 3boxes)
ISOPRINOSINE Tablets for 6 months (for immunity against HPV virus)
Vitamin B17 CASINOVITA ( natural preventive cancer treatment)
My next lab exams after I've finished the treatment showed that the Pap came back to normal and Negative HPV test for high risk strains.
Between my diagnosis and now, I have started sharing my story more openly, encouraging women to take control of their health and get tested for HPV as part of their cervical cancer screening. In response, women who have kept their own stories private and hidden are admitting to me that they too tested positive for HPV. As a result of these discussions, I often hear a sense of relief from other women because they appreciate learning that HPV is quite common, and that if their HPV infection does not clear, they are at risk for cervical cancer.
We need to increase awareness and education around HPV and its relationship with cervical cancer prevention!