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Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer

21Dec 2022

Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer

Cancer of the cervix, which is the lowermost part of the uterus, is termed as cervical cancer. Cervical cancer has been a wrath for American women in the past being the most common cause of mortality among them. 

With the introduction of the PAP test, this figure gradually declined, yet, 13,240 cases are estimated to be diagnosed within the year 2018. Regular screening and control of risk factor significantly prevents cervical cancer, which is why their knowledge is important.

Your can also read:- Screening For Cervical Cancer

What are the causes of Cervical Cancer?

Causes of cervical cancer include:


The incidence of cervical cancer is more among women in the age group of 35 to 44 years in the reproductive age. It is quite rare in women below 20 but can occur in older age women above the age of 65. More than 15% cases are diagnosed in the latter .


Certain races are more susceptible to cervical cancer than others with the order being Hispanic women, African Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders and then whites, followed by American Indians and Alaskan communities, in whom the occurrence is quite rare.

HPV infection

The most common risk factor for cervical cancer is an infection with the Human Papilloma Virus, which spreads through unprotected sexual activity. Although an infection with this virus has a tendency to clear itself off, a long standing or a chronic case can eventually turn into the cancer of the cervix due to the involvement of a high risk type of HPV, which has a group of over 150 types. Vaccination against this and the use of barrier contraceptives like condoms and femidoms goes a long way in prevention.

Chlamydia and gonorrhoea

Chlamydia is yet another infection that spreads through sexual contact and is associated with an increased risk of cervical cancer due to pelvic inflammation . Gonorrhoea may also be one of the risk factors.

Immunodeficient state

It is important to have a strong immune system in order to ward off infections and to destroy cancerous cells in an initial stage. Sexually transmitted infections like HIV-AIDS compromise the immune status of a woman making her more prone to HPV infections, which turn out to be chronic, causing cervical cancer.

Other states of immunodeficiency like diabetes, use of oral contraceptives, autoimmune disorders and certain treatments requiring the prescription of immunosuppressive agents, like organ transplants, also increase the risk of cervical cancer.

Use of contraceptives

Certain types of contraceptives like oral contraceptives increase the risk of cervical cancer while others like IUDs (intrauterine devices) reduce this risk.

It has been stated that the risk of cervical cancer increases along with the duration of use of oral contraceptive and reduces as its use is stopped reaching a stable state after 10 years of stoppage.  

Although, IUDs have been suggested to lower the risk of cervical cancer, it is best to thoroughly talk with your doctor.

More number of babies

Studies have found that women with more than 3 babies are at a higher risk of cervical cancer. This can be because women are at a higher risk of HPV infection during pregnancy due to a generalised inflammatory state and a reduced immunity.

Early pregnancy

Bearing a baby at an age younger than 17 years puts you at a two-fold higher risk of cervical cancer, later in life, than women who embraced motherhood after the age of 25.  

So, it is ideal to plan your pregnancies wisely in terms of number of babies and the time of birth.

Familial history

As with most types of cancers, the risk of cervical cancer increases with a positive family history. In fact, cervical cancer runs in families, probably due to an innate inability to ward off an HPV infection. 

So, if your mother, sister or close relatives have ever been diagnosed, it is time you run some PAP tests.


Smoking is strongly associated with the risk of cervical cancer doubling its incidence.

Low socioeconomic status

Cervical cancer is more common among women from low socioeconomic backgrounds due to a limited awareness of risk factors .

Multiple sexual partners

Having multiple sexual partners puts you at a risk of STDs, which determines the risk for cancer .

If you want book an appoinment you can also consult with our Cervical cancer doctor in gurgaon

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Sunny Garg
Dr. Sunny Garg

Best Oncologist in Gurgaon & Cancer Specialist - Oncoexperts

Dr Sunny Garg is a renowned Medical Oncologist in New Delhi with an experience of more than 10 years of treating cancer patients.

He has studied in one of the most reputed educational institutes of India. He has done his MBBS and MD Internal Medicine from Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University. Thereafter, he has undergone training in Medical Oncology (DM Medical Oncology) from Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bengaluru. He has worked in leading cancer centers in Delhi, and currently practicing at Manipal Hospital, Dwarka, New Delhi.

Dr Sunny Garg has extensive knowledge and experience in the field of oncology, and has treated all cancer types, in various stages, including hard to treat cases. He is well versed with various modalities for cancer treatment like Chemotherapy, Immunotherapy, Targeted Therapy, Hormonal Therapy and Personalised Cancer Therapy.