Cancer and Lifestyle

Understanding The Risk Factors of Cervical Cancer

Last updated on January 26th, 2023 at 01:30 pm

Cervical Cancer: Understanding the Risk Factors

This article explores the risk factors associated with cervical cancer, including age, HPV infection, smoking, and more. Learn how to reduce your risk and protect yourself from this potentially deadly disease.


Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the cells of the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. It is a preventable and treatable disease, but it can be deadly if not caught and treated early. To understand cervical cancer and how to prevent it, it’s important to know the risk factors associated with the disease.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

One of the main risk factors for cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a group of viruses that can cause changes in the cells of the cervix, which can lead to cervical cancer. There are many different types of HPV, but not all types can lead to cervical cancer. HPV is spread through sexual contact, and it is estimated that nearly all sexually active individuals will contract HPV at some point in their lives.


Smoking is another risk factor for cervical cancer. The chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage DNA in cervical cells, which can lead to the development of cancer. Women who smoke are more likely to develop cervical cancer than women who do not smoke.

Immune System Weakness

Women with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV or AIDS, have a higher risk of developing cervical cancer. This is because a weakened immune system may not be able to fight off HPV infections as effectively, which increases the risk of cervical cancer.

Other Risk Factors

Other risk factors for cervical cancer include:

  • Long-term use of oral contraceptives
  • Having given birth to many children
  • Having a family history of cervical cancer
  • Exposure to diethylstilboestrol (DES), a synthetic estrogen once prescribed to prevent miscarriages
Prevention of Cervical Cancer

The best way to prevent cervical cancer is to get screened regularly. The Pap test and the HPV test are two screening tests that can detect cervical cancer or the precancerous changes that can lead to cervical cancer. It is recommended to start screening cervical cancer at the age of 21 and continue until the age of 65.

Vaccination for Cervical Cancer

Another way to prevent cervical cancer is to get vaccinated against HPV. The HPV vaccine is recommended for girls and boys aged 11-12, but it can also be given to women and men up to age 45. The vaccine is given in three doses over six months, and it is most effective when given before an individual becomes sexually active.


Cervical cancer is a preventable and treatable disease, but it is important to be aware of the risk factors associated with it. The main risk factor for cervical cancer is HPV, which is spread through sexual contact. Other risk factors include smoking, weakened immune systems, and certain lifestyle choices. By getting screened regularly, getting vaccinated against HPV, and understanding the risk factors associated with cervical cancer, individuals can take steps to prevent this disease.

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