Cervical cancer is cancer affecting the cervix (the entrance to the womb and connection between the lower part of the womb and vagina).
It is one of the commonest types of cancers affecting black women. Here are 6 risk factors for cervical cancer that must be avoided:
1. Infection with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV): HPV virus increases your risk for cervical cancer, it is responsible for over 99% of cervical cancer cases. It is spread during sexual activity. People infected with most types of HPV may not show any symptoms, hence, it is possible to be infected without knowing. The good news is that there are vaccines available to prevent infection with HPV.
2. Multiple Sex partners or having a partner who has multiple sex partners: can increase your risk for cervical cancer; this is because your chances of contracting Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) increases when you have more sex partners.
3. Starting sexual activity at an early age: can increase your risk for cervical cancer; this is because sexual intercourse at an early age increases your chances of contracting Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
4. Smoking: Research has shown that women who smoke have twice as much chances of developing cervical cancer than women who don’t; this may be due to the effect of harmful chemicals found in tobacco on the cells of the cervix.
5. Contracting sexually transmitted infections: Being infected with other sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis etc. increases your risk of contracting HPV.
6.Taking Oral contraceptive pills for more than 5 years: Research has shown that women who take oral contraceptive pills are at increased risk for cervical cancer. The reason for this is however still unclear, further research is still ongoing.