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Dr. Dardano on Paps
Question from Marie on 11/22/2016:

I'd like to ask Dr. Dardano for some clarification on his response to the question on paps. Here is my problem... I was taught in Biology that it was the Papilloma virus that caused cervical cancer, and that the virus is only found in semen. So how is it that any female virgin would need to have a pap smear taken and tested? Please clarify/explain my confusion.

Answer by Judie Brown on 12/9/2016:

Marie

Here is Dr. Dardano's response

The human papilloma virus (HPV) is a cause of cervical cancer and is transmitted through sexual contact. However, and an important however, the HPV virus is in no way the only cause of cervical cancer. Therefore, the Pap smear is still very important in the virginal woman in detecting cervical cancer.

I must add that although less common, the Pap smear also detects vaginal wall cancers as well as some endometrial, Fallopian tube and ovarian cancers. A good analogy is seen with cigarettes. Smoking is a major cause of lung cancer, but lung cancer is certainly seen in those who never smoked. I hope this answers your question.

Anthony N Dardano, MD, FACS, FACOG

COPYRIGHT 2017

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