women’s health: causes of cervical cancer

Causes of cervical cancer. What are the causes of cervical cancer? The aim of this article is to promote the cervical cancer awareness programme, help eradicate the ignorance and avoidable deaths associated with the disease in Nigeria.

causes of cervical cancer

Cervical cancer usually occurs in the fifth or sixth decade of life at an average age 54years. The benign ( non-spreading) form of the disease may occur in younger women, often under the age of 40years. Cervical cancer has been found to be common in poor women or women of low socioeconomic status. Behaviours, indulgences and our lifestyles during younger times may be the causes of cervical cancer later in life.

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Risk factors above causes cervical cancer in Nigeria

The following are the causes of cervical cancer:

i.human papilloma virus: about 98% of cervical cancer is caused by human papilloma virus

ii. early age at first intercourse

iii. multiple sexual partners

iv. having sexual intercourse with promiscuous males i.e.high risk males( males who themselves have multiple sexual partners)

v. early age at first birth: giving birth early increases cervical cancer risk

vi. smoking: smoking doubles the causes of cervical cancer.

vii. long term use of oral contraceptive pills.

viii. alcohol: there is no direct link but it is believed to make females indulge in risky sexual behaviour…………she is under the influence.

ix. multiparity: parity means the number of times you have given birth. Having many children is a risk factor.

x. age: girls younger than 15 rarely develop cervical cancer. The risk goes up between the late teens and mid-30s. Women over 40 remain at risk and need to continue having regular cervical cancer screenings, which include both a Pap test and human papilloma virus test.

xi.persons living with HIV/AIDs. Their defence mechanisms against the virus is low.

xii. Race/Ethnicity. Cervical cancer is more common among black women, Hispanic women, and American Indian women.

xii. women with previous history of genital warts.

xiii. positive family history/hereditary

xivExposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES). Women whose mothers were given this drug during pregnancy to prevent miscarriage have an increased risk of developing a rare type of cancer of the cervix or vagina. DES was given for this purpose from about 1940 to 1970. Women exposed to DES should have an annual pelvic examination that includes a cervical Pap test as well as a four-quadrant Pap test, in which samples of cells are taken from all sides of the vagina to check for abnormal cells.

xv. women of low social class

Cervical cancer is almost unknown in virgins. This is a reflection of the strong association of the disease with sexual intercourse. This association is so strong that it is sometimes referred to as a “sexually transmitted disease”.

Know the early warning signs of cervical cancer here

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CREDITS: 1. Textbook of Obstetrics and gynaecology by Akin Agboola.

2. Cancer.net

3. Image credit: hand made heroes

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