Cervical Biopsy For HPV (Human Papillomavirus )

Submitted by Medical Health Test Team on October 16, 2012

HPV stands for the Human Papillomavirus. It is a virus that causes infections in the skin or mucus membranes. Most cases of cervical cancer are attributed to a prior infection of the cervix by HPV. The virus is transmittable through sexual activity which is why it tends to affect the genital and anal region in most cases. HPV tends to be cleared quickly in younger women but when the condition persists for many years, it would eventually develop into cancer.

A biopsy is a process where tissues from an organ are collected using a specialized needle or tools for scraping off tissue samples. A biopsy is conducted so that the collected samples can be analyzed for cancer. Cancer is an invasive and aggressive condition that eventually spreads across the body and can be fatal. When caught early, cancer can be avoided or cured completely.

The cervix is located above the vagina and is at the mouth of the uterus. It is narrow and tends to dilate during menstruation and prior to labor. The dilation of the cervix allows the uterus lining to pass during menstruation. It is also the part of the reproductive system that is responsible for the cramps felt by women during menstruation.

The presence of the HPV is indicative of the possibility of future development of cervical cancer. Because of this strong link between the two conditions, a cervical biopsy for HPV may be conducted. This procedure is conducted in the same way as a normal biopsy. The only difference is that the laboratory would use different testing methods to check the sample collected from the patient. These tests are used to establish the presence of the virus in the sample tissue. There may also be lesions or scars on the cervix which are considered to be pre-cancerous. It should be noted that there are different types of HPV. When a sample is scanned, the doctor will communicate the level of risk to the patient based on the strain of HPV detected in the sample.

Before a cervical biopsy, the doctor may examine the area using a tool known as a colposcope. This tool is a low grade microscope which is used to magnify the tissue of the area under observation to get a clearer picture of the condition of the cells lining the cervix. This is done to look for early signs of lesions or masses developing on the cervix following which a biopsy may be performed.

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