Cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer are not caused by HPV, as you’ve been led to believe. No, that was not a typographical error: HPV is not the cause of cervical cancer —at least not by itself. The vast majority of the time a person will contract HPV and eliminate it within a couple of years without any treatment at all.

However, there are some patients—about 10-20%–in which the virus will persist, cervical dysplasia will develop, and the severity of the cervical dysplasia will worsen. For these unfortunate women, invasive LEEP or conization surgery, which can scar or mutilate the cervix, is always the recommended treatment. And even with this aggressive treatment, many will continue to have persistent HPV infections, worsening or recurring cervical dysplasia, and the insanity of a repetitive cycle of biopsy, followed by LEEP, followed by biopsy, followed by LEEP and so on.

I claim that you’ve been lied to because a lie it is. All gynecologists are aware of what I have to tell you regarding the necessary cofactors for HPV progression; they simply choose, with some exceptions, to not tell you. I am most certainly not saying that medical gynecologists are untrustworthy or malicious, just that they are handcuffed by their standard-of-care and as a result are hesitant to share some information.

Knowing that most women with an HPV infection will not develop severe cervical dysplasia and that the vast majority of women will never develop cervical cancer begs a fundamental question: Why is it that some women have a problem with the virus and some do not? The answer lies with the simple fact that we are all very different. Some of this difference is due to genetic factors and the rest is due to lifestyle factors. With regard to cervical cancer, some of the contributing genetic factors have been discovered, and they will be discussed. Lifestyle factors are numerous and include diet, nutritional deficiencies, smoking, oral contraceptive use and excess body fat. It is fortunate that most of the factors that cooperate with HPV to cause cervical cancer are modifiable, and if addressed soon after infection they will substantially reduce the likelihood of having long term problems.