Here are the 3 causes of cervical cancer which you may not know about;
Cervical cancer arises from an abnormal growth of cells around the cervix. These cells have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body. On the early stages, typically no symptoms are seen. Later symptoms may include abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain or pain during sexual intercourse. While bleeding after sex may not be serious, it may also indicate the presence of cervical cancer. Here are the 3 causes of cancer which you may not know about;
1. Using birth control pills (contraceptives) for more than 5 years.
How could oral contraceptives influence cancer risk?
Naturally occurring estrogen and progesterone stimulate the development and growth of some cancers (e.g., cancers that express receptors for these hormones, such as breast cancer). Because birth control pills contain synthetic versions of these female hormones, they could potentially also increase cancer risk.
In addition, oral contraceptives might increase the risk of cervical cancer by changing the susceptibility of cervical cells to persistent infection with high-risk HPV types (the cause of virtually all cervical cancers).
Researchers have proposed multiple ways that oral contraceptives may lower the risks of some cancers, including:
- suppressing endometrial cell proliferation (endometrial cancer)
- reducing the number of ovulations a woman experiences in her lifetime, thereby reducing exposure to naturally occurring female hormones (ovarian cancer)
- lowering the levels of bile acids in the blood for women taking oral conjugated estrogens (colorectal cancer) (23)
2. Smoking tobacco
The way smoking contributes to cervical cancer is not quite clearly and fully understood. But researchers believe tobacco smoke combined with HPV might become a cervical cancer cause because:
- Smoking might prevent the body’s immune system from effectively fighting HPV.
- Carcinogens from smoking amplify the effect of HPV infection in cervical cells.
- Carcinogens from smoking may move the cancer-growing genetic code more quickly from the virus to cervical cells, especially with the strains of HPV that pose the greatest risk of causing cancer.
“We assume smoking affects immunity,” says Dr. Reitan. She says women who have HPV and smoke more than a pack a day significantly increase their risk of developing cervical cancer.
A study performed in Washington showed that after two years, women who quit smoking had the same risk of cervical cancer as women who never smoked. The same study showed that women with active cervical cancer during the screening period were more likely to be those who smoked at least 10 cigarettes a day than nonsmokers. Researchers in this study concluded that women who have HPV should not smoke or should cut down on how much they smoke if they want to reduce their cancer risk.
Bottom line: You can take action to lower your risk of cervical cancer. Reducing your exposure to smoke is among the best steps you can take.
3. Being Sexually Active and Having Many Sexual Partners
Being sexually active means more than just having intercourse with someone. It can mean:
- any genital skin-to-skin contact
- having oral sex
All women who have ever been sexually active are at risk for developing cervical cancer. This is because sexual activity potentially exposes you to HPV. Women who have never been sexually active rarely develop cervical cancer.
Becoming sexually active at a young age can increase the risk for cervical cancer. Researchers think this increased risk is because the cervix changes during puberty. These changes make the area more vulnerable to damage.
Certain types of sexual behavior increase a woman’s risk of infection with HPV. Having intercourse with many partners can increase exposure to HPV, which is transmitted by sexual contact. For this reason, having many sexual partners is linked with a higher risk of cervical cancer. But a woman can have HPV even when she has had only one sexual partner.
Women also seem to be at a higher risk for developing cervical cancer if their male partners have had many sexual partners or female partners with cervical cancer.
Recommendations to Prevent Cervical Cancer
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the following tips will help in preventing cervical cancer:
- Don’t smoke.
- Get regular Pap smears (cervical cancer cells tests)
- Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables to increase immunity
- Use a protective condom during intercourse
- Be monogamous.