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Cervical Cancer Causes

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Cervical cancer is a threat to many women around the world. Not only the physicians but the researchers too are struggling to seek a better prognosis of the disease and its treatment. Studies are also being conducted to research about the exact causes of the cancer.

The disease however, is characterized by abnormal cell growth in the cervical region of the body and its surrounding part. Usually, the cell life cycle, includes the origination of the cells and then its death after stipulated time, but the cancerous cells in the body do not follow this cell life cycle and do not die like normal cells.

Multiple medical treatment techniques and medicines are prescribed to arrest the abnormal cell growth. However, regular screening alone can help to diagnose the problem before the growth becomes non-curable or unstoppable. Hence, early diagnosis is a key to better prognosis of cervical cancer.

Causes of Cervical Cancer:

There are no exact causes established with this type of cancer. The researchers have attributed a few risk factors for cervical cancer. If a person has any one or more of these risk factors, then she is likely to develop cancer of the cervix.

The degree of cancer causing capacity of each risk factor disclosed below may be different, but it is linked with the disease in some way or the other.

  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Infection - This is one of the most common risk factors or causes of cervical cancer. In almost every case of invasive cervical cancer, HPV infection is detected.

    There are around 100 types of HPV and 30 amongst these are sexually transmitted. Some of the HPV strains amongst the sexually transmitted category are responsible to cause cervical cancer.

    Almost 1 out of 4 sexually active women in America is diagnosed with HPV infection and is at a risk of developing cancer of the cervix. A few people suffering from HPV infection may show up genital or skin warts, but not all will show up the symptoms of HPV infection.

    HPV virus usually goes away on its own without any medical intervention, but a few women may have it for years. Also, people who have had a type of HPV infection and received a treatment may develop another type of HPV infection over time.

  • Sexually Transmitted Infection - HPV infection is a major infection that is linked to cervical cancer. However, other sexually transmitted infections such as herpes or HIV infection if combined with HPV infection has a double risk associated with it. Together they can trigger cervical cancer.

  • Sex Life - Women who become sexually active at an early age, are vulnerable to this cancer due to the excessive fragile cervical cells during teenage. Also, adult women, who have multiple sex partners or have sex with a partner who has multiple sex partners, who have HPV infection, may get the HPV infection..

  • Contraceptive Pills - The studies reflect that women using contraceptive pills for a prolonged duration of around 8-10 years are likely to get affected by cervical cancer in the long run.

    However, women, who did not prolong the use of oral contraception for five or more years, are safe and no such risk is attributed to them. There are two reasons for this risk factor to be vital.

    First, women using contraceptive measures are less likely to use condoms during sexual intercourse thereby increasing the risk of HPV infection.

    Second, study of cervical cancer research also state that the hormonal changes consequent to the use of contraceptive pills may affect the cancer cells to grow in the cervical region after the virus enters the genetic areas.

  • Diethylstilbestrol (DES) - This pill is now banned in the U.S. because of its adverse effects. This hormonal drug was prescribed by many physicians to pregnant women, to avoid the risk of miscarriages.

    Daughters born during the period of 1940 to 1971, whose mothers were administered the DES drug are highly vulnerable to develop cervical cancer.

  • Smoking/Tobacco - Smoking and use of tobacco may lead to damage of the cells in the cervix or surrounding region. Research shows by-products of tobacco can cause cancer in the cervical cells.

Smoking exposes the body to various harmful chemicals including cancer-causing chemicals and such chemicals are absorbed by the respiratory system in lungs and circulated throughout the body via blood stream.

Another possible reason for vulnerability to cervical cancer is due to smoking. Smoking deteriorates the immune system's capability to fight infections including HPV.

  • Diet - Women who consume fatty substances and do not eat fruits and vegetables are likely to develop cervical cancer in future.

  • Family History - Cervical cancer is likely to pass on through families. Hence, if mother or real sister of a woman suffered this disease, then even she is likely to develop the cancer and the risk is twice compared to the one who does not have any family history of this disease.

  • Immune Deficiency - This factor may not directly cause cancer but will certainly create favorable conditions for its development. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) will hamper the body's immune ability to fight any infection including HPV and make a woman suffering from HIV more vulnerable to get cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer is a threatening disease and provides good prognosis of treatment only if diagnosed at an early stage. A continued research is carried on to search better treatment techniques for the disease and also understand its causes. There are no certain cervical cancer causes established except for the most common HPV infection, found in most of the trial cases.

However, apart from this common cause or risk factor of cervical cancer there are several other risk factors understood with a variable degree of vulnerability to develop cancer. Preventing these risk factors, atleast those which are avoidable is a key to stay away from cancer of the cervix.

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