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Jo Rising

After 7 years of being clear of Cervical cancer I still go annually to the marsden for check ups. My last check up in November 19 came back high risk HPV . I’m due a colposcopy 13th jan to check me out but I wonder why HPV is back ? I’ve not been sexually active for a few years . What is it that causes hpv to reoccur ?

Jazza's picture


Well it seems it's all down to one's immunity.  Here's a very simplistic explanation of how I understand it.

HPV can lie dormant in the body (for many years) in which case it's unlikely to cause problems and will probably not be picked up by HPV testing. If one's immune system becomes compromised in some way, possibly due to smoking, stress, ageing, nutrition etc., then the dormant virus may reactivate at which point it can be detected by HPV testing i.e. it has apparently reoccurred.

One analogy is shingles: most of us know that if we get chicken pox as children then the chicken pox virus stays in the body and may manifest as shingles later in life. It's a flawed analogy, but it's a familiar idea of how a virus can remain in the body without causing problems then can re-emerge to cause a disease.

Most women clear HPV within 2 years of acquiring it and never have any problems with it, so a point of intrigue for me is why MY immune system was unable to deal with the virus. Ironic really, I've never smoked or taken the pill and generally had a very healthy lifestyle.

Hope your colposcopy went OK?


  • Feb 04:  (age 47y) Smear test normal
  • Stopped going for smears!
  • Summer 16: persistent watery yellow vaginal discharge
  • Dec 16: post menopausal vaginal bleed
  • Jan 17: Hysteroscopy under GA for ?fibroids - abnormal cervix observed -multiple biopsies taken, 1B1  squamous  cell cc diagnosed - confirmed by MRI/PET scans
  • Feb 17: pelvic lymphadenectomy - nodes negative, Da Vinci radical hysterectomy- close anterior margin/LVSI/PNI, restaged to 2A
  • Apr/May 17: 6x chemo, 25x external radio, 2x brachy
  • May 20:  NED.  Various side effects notably hypotonic bladder since hysterectomy - ongoing ISC, unilateral lymphoedema lower abdo/groin/leg/ankle/foot

More Information

Abnormal cervical cells and treatment

Read about HPV