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Human papillomavirus (HPV) - does a positive result mean I have cancer?


The answer is no. With this blog we aim to clarify some of the most frequent doubts that our patients have.

A positive test result for HPV almost inevitably sets off alarm bells and we are overcome with doubts and fears. In many cases, the next step is to search the Internet, where they sometimes find contradictory information that ends up increasing their anguish.

The Human Papillomavirus family is composed of several serotypes that are divided into two groups. The first, Low-risk HPV within which the following stand out serotypes 6 and 11, can cause genital warts (condylomas) and low-grade lesions that can be cleared by the immune system and usually do not progress to a malignant lesion. In the second group are the so-called High-risk HPV where the best known are the serotypes 16 and 18. The serotypes that make up this group most frequently express specific proteins called E6 and E7 oncoproteins which have the ability to cause changes in epithelial cells and lead to cancer.

We have at our disposal different tests that allow us to identify the presence of HPV, its impact on the cell, the extent of the lesion, the serotype to which it corresponds and its capacity to produce a cancerous lesion or not.

Regular gynaecological check-ups will ensure timely diagnosis and management in each case, avoiding detection in advanced stages of the disease.