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HPV and cervical cancer prevention

My Story | Danielle Sepulveres

Danielle Sepulveres, NYC based freelance writer for women's health, pop culture and relationships, Author of "The Semi-Scandalous Story of an Ex-Virgin", HPV #cervivor, and HUGE baseball fan.

Personal Story told 2020.

 

A positive high‐risk HPV screening result got me stressed, but now there’s a new test option, recently FDA‐approved, that lets you know more, sooner.

This next generation test, powered by biomarker technology, brings cervical cancer screening into the 21st century. It’s a dual stain immunocytochemical test run from the same sample collected for Pap and HPV DNA screening. Biomarker information helps improve the odds for cervical cancer prevention, and can help guide important next step clinical care decisions.

This test looks for the simultaneous presence of two biomarkers ‐ p16 and Ki‐67 ‐ in the same cell. When this occurs, it is reported as a positive result, and signals an abnormality caused by HPV, and indicates cells are starting to transform. This means a woman is at significantly higher risk for cervical pre‐cancer and may benefit from more immediate follow‐up.

Finding and treating pre‐cancerous lesions, before they progress towards invasive cancer, is a valuable prevention goal. A negative biomarker‐based cytology result can reassure a woman that she is does not currently show signs of disease progression, and is OK to wait until repeat testing.

Personal Story told 2019.

HPV tried to wreck my life, but I learned how to fight back! The stigma is real and it’s wrong!

Certain types of high-risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV) are the known cause of almost all cases of cervical cancer. When I tested positive for HPV, unlike most women, my body didn’t clear it right away, and I was dealing with a diagnosis of cervical pre-cancer. Thankfully, after multiple procedures, my healthcare provider was able to remove the pre-cancerous cells, and my persistent HPV infection was stopped from causing more damage. But along the way, I also experienced the stigma from having this specific diagnosis, and I’m here to say “Let’s end the blame and shame game when it comes to HPV…if it can happen to me, it can happen to you or anyone.” I’m thankful I knew my risk for cervical cancer, before it turned into something more serious.

 

What does a positive HPV test mean, anyway?

Good news! There are ways to prevent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection from turning into cervical cancer. Screening tests that look for HPV DNA are more accurate than the Pap test alone. And screening specifically for high risk HPV types, those that can lead to cervical cancer, is one way to prevent disease from developing. But should you panic if you get a positive HPV test? The answer is no, and know that your situation can vary, depending upon age, screening history, and other factors. It’s always better to know, so you can take the necessary follow-up steps recommended by your healthcare provider.

 

Personal Story told 2019.

Personal Story told 2014.

My story, from the beginning

Since her experience with HPV and cervical pre-cancer, Danielle is an active advocate for patient awareness, education, and a call to eliminate stigma around HPV and cervical cancer. She is the author of the book "Losing It: The Semi-Scandalous Story of an Ex-Virgin," based on her own experience. After receiving an irregular Pap test result and testing positive for HPV, Danielle was diagnosed with cervical precancer. Danielle describes her confusion, fear and follow up treatment to prevent her disease from progressing. Most recently, Danielle has been vlogging, to reach women around the world with facts about HPV and cervical cancer prevention.

 

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Support is here for you. Access educational, support, and advocacy resources to support you along your individual cervical health journey.