It is estimated that 1 of out of every 3 people in the United States knows someone with cancer. Its unfortunately becoming commonplace to find out someone has been diagnosed with some form of cancer. And cervical cancer is no different. One of our followers asks: “What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk?” See below and share!
Cervical Cancer Causes
Infection with certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) is believed to be the major cause of cervical cancer. Other risk factors include:
- Birth control pills: A 2003 scientific review of 28 studies found that compared to women who never took oral contraceptives, those who were on the pill for less than five years had a 10 percent increased risk of cervical cancer; those who took it for five to nine years had a 60 percent increased risk. The same study found that the risk returns to normal 10 years after a woman stops taking oral contraceptives.
- Smoking: Women who smoke have twice the normal risk of non-smokers. Tobacco byproducts have been found in the cervical mucus of women who smoke, and researchers believe that these substances damage the DNA of cervical cells.
- Pregnancies: More than three full term pregnancies are associated with an increased risk. The reason is unknown.
- Diet: A diet low in fruits and vegetables increases the risk.
- DES: Daughters of women who took the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES) during pregnancy between the years 1940 and 1971 may be at increased risk of a rare form of cervical cancer. DES is no longer given to pregnant women.
Reduce Your Risk With:
Some gynecologic cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a very common sexually transmitted infection. Vaccines protect against the HPV types that most often cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. It is recommended for 11- and 12-year-old girls and boys. (Note: The vaccine can be given beginning at age 9.) It also can be given to females or males who are 13–26 who did not get any or all of the shots when they were younger. Ideally, girls and boys should get three doses of this vaccine before their first sexual contact. If you or someone you care about is in this age range, talk with a doctor about it.