Primary risk factor for cervical cancer is Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. However, a person’s sexual practices, smoking habits and diet also affect the chances of developing cancer of cervix. Some risk factors, such as smoking, unprotected sex and sex with multiple partners can be easily avoided. Other than that, no control can be imposed on one’s genetic predisposition. With the possibilities of cutting some risk factors, one should know how to reduce the risk of cervical cancer.
The most effective way of lowering the risk of cervical cancer remains early detection and treatment of the growing precancerous tissue. In the initial stages, cervical cancer does not produce any symptoms. Thus, one needs to visit a doctor routinely for a pelvic exam and Pap test. After the age of 18 or once a woman becomes sexually active, it is recommended to get a pelvic exam and pap test done annually.
More than 90 per cent of cervical cancer cases are caused by Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. However, with a vaccine against HPV infections, one can reduce the risk of cervical cancer. Teenage girls between 11-17 years of age usually get this vaccine. Women can also consider getting this vaccine. A doctor must be consulted to know the pros and cons of this vaccination.
HPV infection, primary risk factor for cervical cancer, is a sexually transmitted disease. Thus, a woman, who has had multiple sexual partners, has greater risk of developing cervical cancer. The degree of risk is also high in women who began having sex before the age of 16. To prevent the risk of cervical cancer, one needs to maintain a monogamous relationship. Apart from this, using a condom every single time you have intercourse greatly reduces the risk of contracting STDs and developing cervical cancer. Although condoms protect from STDs, they do not provide protection against HPV infection because it can be transmitted through perineal and perianal skin or hair.
Smoking does not cause HPV infection, but exposes smoker’s body to a number of cancer-causing chemicals. Chain smokers almost have double risk of developing cervical cancer than non-smokers or those who smoke occasionally. Smoking increases the growth rate of cancerous cells and cancer spreads early. Quitting smoking greatly cut down the risk of cervical cancer.
Women who have poor diet and eating habits may also be under an increased risk of cervical cancer. Diet low in fruits and vegetables has been associated with risk of cervical cancer by many studies.
A visit to an oncologist will be of greater help in knowing how to decrease the risk of cervical cancer.
Read more articles on Cervical Cancer.