10 Factors that Put You at Risk for Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers for women, ranking fourth behind breast, colorectal, and lung cancers respectively. According to the American Cancer Society, the five year survival rate for patients diagnosed with cervical cancer is 92 percent when caught early on. Unfortunately, that survival rate plummets to just 17 percent when cancer has metastasized.

Clearly, it pays to catch cervical cancer early on, and part of cancer prevention and detection lies in knowing personal risk factors, like the following…

10. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) 


HPV is widely considered the first step towards cervical cancer, despite the condition itself being generally harmless and treatable. The World Health Organization attributes 70 percent of cervical cancer cases to HPV types 16 and 18.

HPV is not, however, the only STI that can lead to cervical cancer…

9. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)


Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), formerly known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), can increase the risk of cervical cancer. STIs include HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia. Specifically, they increase the risk of developing both HPV and cervical cancer, especially when left untreated. Women with HIV in particular are 4 to 5 times more likely to suffer from invasive cervical cancer than those without HIV.

Closely related to STDs is the following risk factor…

8. Engaging With Many Sexual Partners 

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Not only does having multiple sexual partners (or if a partner has had a similar amount of sexual partners) put people at risk for STIs, but it can also make them prone to cervical cancer.

Of course, when sexual activities begin can also be a risk factor…

7. Early Sexual Activity

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Italian gynecologist Dr. Silvia Franceschi reports that girls who become sexually active in their teenage years have an increased risk of getting HPV or developing cervical cancer in the future.

Being resistant to health conditions is truly a precious commodity, as our next factor proves…

6. A Weak Immune System

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Having poor health makes people vulnerable to a host of diseases, health conditions, and even cancers. A weak immune system only increases a person’s chances of getting cervical cancer.

Sometimes, personal habits can even increase your risk for cancer…

5. Smoking

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One study showed smoking can highly affect the DNA of cervical cells. And unfortunately, this damage can trigger cervical cancer. Therefore, women who smoke frequently are twice as vulnerable to getting this cancer than those who do not smoke.

Even hormonal contraceptives can put people at risk…

4. Taking Oral Contraceptives


Research published in the Lancer notes that frequent intake of oral contraceptives through the years increases the risk of getting cervical cancer. This risk, however, declines when usage stops altogether. As such, it’s no wonder many people explore non-hormonal birth control methods.

The exact opposite of contraceptives can also increase the risk of cervical cancer…

3. Pregnancy

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Multiple full-term pregnancies may cause hormonal changes and weaken the immune system, which can make women prone to HPV infections or cancer growth. Those who have had pregnancies when they were aged 20 or younger are also at risk for late-life cervical cancer.

Unfortunately, not all risk factors are within your control…

2. Age


Women who are in their mid-30s to late 40s are at high risk of developing cervical cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. For this reason, it’s essential that women of all ages continue to visit their doctors, including their gynecologists, at least once per year.

Unfortunately, age isn’t the only uncontrollable risk factor…

1. Family History and Genetics

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Those who have a close family member with cervical cancer are at heightened risk for developing it themselves. Some experts hypothesize this risk is because of a rare genetic trait that makes people more susceptible to HPV infections. In turn, these HPV infections make people more susceptible to cervical cancer.

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