Nov 3, 2004
Knowing there are many unknowns with progression of cervical cencer in HIV+ females, what would your opinion be on the timeframe in development cancerous cells causing more serious stages of cancer after once having clear margins after surgery?
I question the information that is being given to me by "professionals" at my clinic I see for treatment of dysplasia (which I have had biopsies with cancer cells removed at an early stage). I was told that development of cervical cancer takes years, not months.
However I want to confirm that this advice is correct. The clinic I deal with is constantly in 2 month or more delays to schedule exams and 1 month for surgeries. Am I placing myself at higer risk by having exams every 6-12 months? I have had two LEEP procedures and a cone biopsy last spring for persistent problems with severe dysplasia.
Response from Dr. Lee
Cervical cancer is associated with a virus (HPV) which causes dyplasia and can cause progression to invasive cancer, usually over several years. The rate of progression to cervical cancer is related to many variables. The most significant variable is the state of the individual's immune system. So, if you have a T-cell count of 500 you are at less risk for rapid progression of cervical cancer than if you have a T-cell count of 20.
Controlling the HIV in order to protect your T-cells and therefore maintain a healthy immune response to the (HPV) human papilloma virus is important. It is also necessary to keep a close watch on any cervical changes with paps and colposcopies. If you don't wish to have children and you have had severe dyplasia, you may even want to consider a hysterectomy. Talk with your doc.
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