Have you been tested for HPV -human pappiloma virus? Because researchers believe this virus is the one responsible for almost all cases of cervical cancer. Often HPV is a subclinical infection that doesn't cause any particular symptoms, so women may not know they are infected with the virus. Even some gynecologists and family practice doctors are not well-informed about the HPV - cervical cancer connection, so you may need to get the facts and then push your doctor for the test. There are more than 100 types of HPV, but most are "low-risk", meaning they are not likely to lead to cancer or other serious illness. Others are "high-risk". HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, and 35 have been all been linked to cervical cancer. These high-risk HPVs may also be linked to increased risk of other cancers such as bladder cancer. You can go to this link for more information -

You might want to print out some information to take to your doctor. But any woman with cervical dysplasia or an abnormal Pap test needs to educate herself about HPV, so you know what tests to ask for, and whether you have an increased risk for developing cervical cancer.

Women 26 and under should also ask about being vaccinated against HPV - there is an FDA approved vaccine already available to prevent certain types of high risk HPV infection - and other vaccines are in the works. Since women with impaired immune systems may be especially vulnerable to viral infections, it's very important to talk to your doctor about HPV.