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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Anal Cancer

Question: Anal cancer and HPV

 amecyst - Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:59 am

I am a 28 year old female that received laser treatment approximately ten years ago for cervical dysplasia. The cause of the dysplasia was HPV infection. My pap tests since then have always come back normal but now I am worried that I could be at risk for anal cancer. Prior to my HPV diagnosis, I engaged in unproctected anal sex with 2 different partners on numerous occasions.

Part of the reason I am concerned is because I believe I have one of the aggressive strains of the virus. I had only been sexually active for under a year when my pap test came back with results that stated "severe cell changes." Could this mean that the same aggressive cell changes could be occurring around my anus? I've been worrying a lot about this lately because I fear that my anus area could be enduring the same rapid cell changes as my cervix did many years ago. Please let me know if I would be at high risk for anal cancer and if this is something I should get checked out. For the record, I have no symptoms that would indicate cancer.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:10 pm

User avatar Hello Amecyst,

The answer to this question is unfortunately "it depends". HPV is well linked to increased risk of anal cancer; however, as with cervical cancer, only certain strains increase the risk. In particular, HPV strain 16 is the most commonly seen strain, followed by strain 18. Cervical cancer strains vary a little but in general, 16, 18, and 31 tend to be the more aggressive strains.

The answer as to whether or not you may be at increased risk of anal cancer depends on which strain of HPV you were infected with. Unfortunately, at this point there really is not much to do to decrease your risk if you are infected with an aggressive strain.

The best thing you can do is to continue to have regular check ups with your gynecologist, being sure to make your doctor aware of your concerns about anal cancer. This way you can continually be monitored for any signs of early changes that may be precancerous. Early detection is the key.

Best wishes.

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