When did I get HPV? And when did it turn into cancer? I do a lot of thinking some days about when I must have started to develop cancer. I know it's slow-growing, often taking 10 years of dysplasia to turn into cancer.
What risk factors did I have? Well, I did take the pill for many years, but that risk factor is confusing because cervical cancer has nothing to do with the hormones in the pill.
I never smoked, I was not overweight, and I didn't have sex at a young age. I didn't have a baby at a young age either!
Cervical cancer is not in my family, so there isn't really a genetic risk, or is there?
DES was not used much after 1971, but I was born before that, and some women took DES and didn't know it. It was actually included in some prenatal vitamins back then. If my mother took DES, then that explains my cervical cancer.
HPV can also explain it because my Pap smears did detect HPV, although now it's gone dormant.
But the gross thing about HPV is that it's a sexually-transmitted disease or STD. When we were kids, we joked about VD, or venereal diseases. It's not too funny now.
For me, there is definitely some guilt associated with being diagnosed with cervical cancer because it's almost always caused by an STD. Guilt, though, is never a useful emotion unless it spurs you to act, which is why I write this website.
I can't change anything now, and maybe I never could have. But one thing I can do is keep seeing my doctor every year and warn other women about the risks.