Several risk factors can increase a person’s chances of developing cervical cancer. These include:
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection: HPV is the most significant risk factor for cervical cancer. Certain strains of HPV, particularly types 16 and 18, are known to cause cervical cancer. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection and can be spread through sexual contact.
- Smoking: Smoking tobacco increases the risk of developing cervical cancer. Chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage the DNA of cervical cells and increase the likelihood of cancerous changes.
- Weakened immune system: People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or those who have undergone an organ transplant and are taking immunosuppressive medications, are at higher risk of developing cervical cancer. A healthy immune system helps to fight off HPV infection and prevent the development of cancerous cells.
- Long-term use of oral contraceptives: Women who have used oral contraceptives (birth control pills) for five or more years have a slightly higher risk of developing cervical cancer. However, this risk returns to normal after stopping the use of oral contraceptives.
- Multiple sexual partners: Having multiple sexual partners or having a partner who has had multiple sexual partners increases the risk of HPV infection and, consequently, the risk of cervical cancer.
- Early sexual activity: Engaging in sexual activity at a young age increases the risk of HPV infection and cervical cancer. The cervix of younger girls may be more susceptible to the effects of HPV.
- Lack of regular cervical screening: Regular cervical screening, such as Pap smears or HPV testing, can help detect precancerous changes in the cervix early on and prevent the development of cervical cancer. Not having regular screenings increases the risk of undetected precancerous changes progressing to cancer.
It is important to note that having one or more of these risk factors for cervical cancer does not guarantee that a person will develop cervical cancer. Likewise, not having any risk factors does not mean a person is immune to the disease. Regular cervical screenings and HPV vaccination can help reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer. Gynecologist in Indore recommends timely vaccinations for women to reduce the risk of cervical cancer, emphasizing the importance of routine screenings and consultations to ensure overall reproductive health and well-being.