Dr. Marchese explains what a woman can do to prevent abnormal cervical changes that can present as cervical cancer.
Well in order to prevent the cervical changes I do recommend that women get their annual well woman’s exams every year because that’s the first line of screening to see if they have any cervical changes.
We know that most abnormal cervical changes are caused by high-risk HPV, the human papillomavirus. The way that we prevent the transmission of HPV is by using some type of barrier protection during intercourse.
HPV is technically a sexually transmitted infection and men don’t know that they have the virus. There’s no way to test men to see if they have high-risk HPV. Now we do know if a man has low-risk HPV because they might have experienced a genital wart outbreak, but in terms of the high-risk HPV we have no way of knowing if a man has it. They are basically asymptomatic and so if a barrier protection during intercourse such as a condom is not utilized then they might not know that they are actually passing it to their partner.
Well the vaccine is being touted as a method of preventing the transmission of the human papillomavirus. Basically by vaccinating girls it’s building up their immune system that they will not develop the high-risk human papillomavirus. There are, as I mentioned, about 40 different strains of the high-risk human papilloma virus. Currently there’s two vaccines on the market for the HPV virus, the human papillomavirus. Each of them only contains two of the high-risk strains. So again, the question will be, “Well what if the male partner has a high-risk strain other than the two in the vaccine that could possibly be transmitted?”
And again, if you are relying on the vaccine as your method of preventing HPV and not using a barrier method then you are not preventing transmission of other sexually transmitted infections.
About Dr. Marianne Marchese, N.D., L.L.C.:
Dr. Marianne Marchese is a clinician, author, and educator. She graduated from Creighton University in 1990 with a B.S. in Occupational Therapy and specialized in neurological and orthopedic conditions while working at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Dr. Marchese received her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine (NCNM) in Portland, Oregon in 2002. She completed a two-year postgraduate residency in Integrative Medicine and Women's Health and completed a six-month post-graduate training in Environmental Medicine.