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Insurance Article

What are the Top Reasons for Cervical Cancer?

February 01 2017
Cervical Cancer

A list of major factors that lead to cervical cancer

Cancer of the cervix usually occurs during midlife. Half of the women diagnosed with cervical cancer are between 35 and 55 years of age. The early stages may be completely free of symptoms. It typically happens when abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control. It may take over 10 to 20 years from pre-cancerous changes to develop into cancer.

It is the fourth-most common cause of cancer and the fourth-most common cause of death from cancer in women. Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by a virus called ‘human papilloma virus’(HPV) and women of all ages are at risk of developing it. Here are a few major reasons for cervical cancer:

Human Papilloma Virus

There are over 100 different types of HPVs, and at least 15 of which are classified as high-risk and 12 as low-risk. It is the most common sexually transmitted infection. Type 16 & 18 cause more than 75% of cases globally.

Most of HPV infections, around 90%, resolve on their own within 2 years. A small percentage of the women do not clear the HPV and are considered to have persistent infection. They would be at a greater risk of developing cervical cell abnormalities.

Smoking

HPV-infected women with smoking habits carry three times the risk of getting cancer. They have CIN3 lesions (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3) which aids in the development of HPV.

Excess smoking and long-term smoking increases the risk of getting the CIN3 lesions than lighter smoking. It also prevents the immune system to fight against HPV and the carcinogens move the cancer-growing genetic code more quickly from the virus to cervical cells.

Oral Contraceptives

Birth control pills often contain man-made versions of the natural female hormones i.e., estrogens and progesterone. The risk increases 3 times if the usage is for 5 to 9 years and 4 times if the usage is for more than 10 yrs.

Between 80% and 90% of cervical abnormalities can be detected and treated in women who attend regular screening programs. It is advised therefore that all sexually active women, especially those on long-term oral contraceptives should be encouraged to have regular cervical examinations.

Multiple Pregnancies

Among HPV-infected women, there is 4 times the risk of cancer for seven and above full-term pregnancies when compared with women with no pregnancy. Even with one or two full-term pregnancies the risk doubles up. Also the lack of increased risk in women who did not have a vaginal delivery implicates the cervical trauma that occurs during vaginal delivery.

Weakened Immune System

The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend the body against attacks by “alien” microbes. It helps the body get rid of HPV. Women with a weakened immune system and who are on immune-suppressant drugs from organ transplants are at increased risk of cervical cancer.

Related Article:

What Is Cancer Insurance and Why Do You Need It?
Why You Should Get Diabetes Insurance Before It's Too Late?

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