How long does it take for HPV-related cancers to develop?

In early adolescence and early reproductive age, infection with HPV virus can induce changes in newly transformed cells and viral particles can integrate into the DNA of human cells when squamous metaplasia occurs. If the virus persists, it may lead to precancerous lesions, and then the cells lose the regulation of normal growth and become cancerous.

It usually takes 8-10 years for high-risk HPV infection to develop into cervical cancer, during which patients might go through “infection - persistent infection - low grade lesion - high grade lesion - invasive cancer”.

Prevention and Treatment of Cervical Cancer

The primary prevention is HPV vaccines that prevent infection by certain types of

human papillomavirus (HPV). The secondary prevention is regular screening of cervical cancer, including cytology test and HPV test that help detect early precancerous lesion and impending cervical cancer. And the tertiary prevention is standardized treatment for ascertained cervical cancer, which is also the consequence of persistent infection of high-risk HPV. So in a word, the key to prevent the occurrence of cervical cancer is to block the infection of HPV.

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