Risk factors for Cervical Cancer include:

  1. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection
    Infection by the HPV is the most important risk factor for cervical cancer. At least 15 of the HPV strains causes cervical cancer. It is a skin infection, spread through skin-to-skin contact. Most of the time, one contracts HPV through sexual activity with someone (including vaginal, anal and even oral sex) who has HPV. However, having HPV does not mean that cancer will develop. For most women, the HPV virus goes away on its own or when they undergo treatments to remove the abnormal cells

  2. Weakened Immune System
    The immune system is important in destroying cancer cells and slowing their growth and spread. Hence, individuals with weakened immune system are at increased risk. This includes those with HIV and those who are chronically immunosuppressed from corticosteroid medications, organ transplantation or treatments from other types of cancer

  3. Smoking
    Women who smoke are twice as likely to develop cancer as those who do not smoke. Researchers believe that tobacco by-products, found in the cervical mucus of female smokers, damage the DNA of the cervix cells. Smoking also makes the immune system less effective in fighting HPV infection

  4. Oral contraceptives
    There is evidence that taking oral contraceptives for a more than 5 years increases the risk of cervical cancer. This risk declines slowly after the oral contraceptives are stopped

  5. Having a Family History of Cervical Cancer
    Cervical cancer may run in some families, possibly because of common inherited conditions of diminished abilities to fight off HPV infection
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