Just to refresh your memory, an anal pap smear is when a health care provider collects squamous epithelial cells from the wall of your rectal canal or cervix and sends them to the laboratory to be examined for uncontrolled cell growth that could suggest cancer. This simple gynecological test is beneficial in the early detection and prevention of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), cervical, and rectal cancer. This article will disclose to you why you probably need a checkup.
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Current Trends in the Development of Anal Cancer
Apparently, squamous epithelial cells are highly susceptible to infection by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Infection of the anal or cervical squamous epithelial cells with the different strains of HPV is associated with the development of dysplasia, cervical, and rectal cancer. Historically, cervical cancer has been the most widespread HPV-induced squamous neoplastic infection. As we speak, incidences of cervical cancer have been on the decline due to the increased awareness and screening via checkup. In contrast, rates of cancer have doubled in the past 30 years.
Who Needs an Anal Pap Smear
Unluckily, standards have not yet been set to declare who should be getting a checkup. As a result, your general practitioner isn’t going to recommend to you if you should have the test or not unless you specifically request for it. As reported by the Cancer Network, 95 percent of HIV-positive gay men already have Human Papillomavirus (HPV) – the virus responsible for cancer. On the other hand, about 65 percent of HIV-negative gay and bisexual men have HPV. Unlike Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which is spread through the exchange of body fluids, HPV is transmitted through skin to skin contact.
Factors that increase the risk of cancer include the use of alcohol or other drugs like tobacco and multiple sexual partners. Thus, the groups of people at a high risk of developing cancer include HIV-Positive patients, men who have sexual intercourse with men, women participating in receptive sexual intercourse, women with a history of vulvar or cervical cancer, and immunosuppressed patients as a result of solid-organ transplantation.
The test is a vital screening tool for rectal and cervical cancer because it helps in the early detection of dysplasia or the uncontrolled growth of the squamous epithelial cells before they develop into invasive cancer. This procedure is pretty beneficial especially in individuals who are highly susceptible to cancer.
How Frequent Should You Have an Anal Pap Smear?
Even though global standards have not been well outlined yet, the recommendation is that all people who take part in anal intercourse, especially those infected with HPV or HIV should be tested for cancer every one to three years.
This checkup has proved to be a beneficial tool in the timely detection of cytological changes linked with different strains of HPV infection. In fact, a growing number of physicians argue that Pap smear tests should be an essential part of the routine screenings performed on anyone who participates in sex. Therefore, if you take part in any form of receptive sex, this gynecological procedure gives you a chance for the early detection of cancer in order to take appropriate interventions and follow-up.
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