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Get to know the various causes of cervical cancer and their risk factors

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women. As a preventive measure, it is important to know about the causes of cervical cancer and its risk factors. Check out the full explanation below.

Get to know the various causes of cervical cancer and their risk factors

Recognizing the Causes of Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer caused by the accumulation of gene damage caused by exposure to harmful substances that cause cancer. These substances are called carcinogens which can be certain chemicals or molecules.

The cause of cancer itself can be influenced by the environment, viruses, to genetic factors. Generally, this gene damage is not only caused by one cause, but there are several causes that influence each other.

Cervical cancer or cervical cancer is cancer that occurs when cells in the cervix become abnormal and multiply rapidly. The main trigger of cervical cancer is infection hhuman papillomavirus (HPV).

Need to know, There are 15 types of HPV that are considered at high risk of spreading cervical cancer. Of these, there are 2 types of HPV that have the highest potential to cause cervical cancer, namely HPV 16 and HPV 18.

Also read: HPV Vaccine: Purpose, Dosage, Side Effects, etc

Cervical Cancer Risk Factors

Although the main cause is the HPV virus, there are various factors that are even more so have the potential to develop cervical cancer, including:

1. Age factor

Cervical cancer very rarely affects women who are less than 20 years old. The risk actually increases in the late teens to mid-30s.

Even though they are not at an age that is prone to cervical cancer, every woman still has to do cervical cancer checks such as PAP smear or an HPV test.

2. Sexual Relations at a Young Age

Having sexual intercourse at an early age (under 20 years) is often associated with a higher risk of transmitting HPV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Sexual intercourse at an early age also has the potential to cause early pregnancy. In addition to early sexual intercourse, giving birth at an early age is also associated with the risk of HPV infection which has the potential to develop into cervical cancer.

3. Often Changing Partners

Frequently changing sexual partners can increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including HPV infection.

The greater the number of sexual partners you have, the more likely you are to be exposed to HPV. This risk can increase if someone has unsafe sexual intercourse, such as sex without using a condom.

4. Douching

Douching is a procedure to clean the vagina by spraying a special solution into the vaginal canal.

Some people think that this procedure can help clean the vagina and even help expel the virus. However, several studies have also linked the douching and a higher risk of HPV infection.

Until now it is not known how often douching done to increase the risk of HPV infection. If you have HPV or cervical pre-cancerous conditions, discuss with your doctor before doing it douching.

5. Smoking

Basically, smoking can increase the risk of almost all types of cancer. Cigarettes contain harmful substances that are carcinogenic. Women who smoke have twice the risk of developing cervical cancer than women who don’t smoke.

6. Have a history of sexually transmitted diseases

Having a history of sexually transmitted diseases can also increase a woman’s risk of developing cervical cancer.

Someone who has a history of other sexually transmitted infections including genital herpes, chlamydia, gonorrheasyphilis, and others have a higher risk of developing HPV, which means you have a higher risk of developing cervical cancer as well.

Also Read: 12 Good Foods to Eat to Prevent Cervical Cancer

7. Parity or Number of Births

Having more children (more than 5) can actually increase a woman’s risk of developing cervical cancer.

Women who have given birth to many children and have HPV are more likely to develop cervical cancer than those with low parity. This risk can be further increased if the first birth occurs when the mother is young or under 20 years old.

8. Use of Oral Contraception

Long-term use of oral contraceptives or birth control pills is also thought to be one of the causes of cervical cancer.

Even so, it is not yet known how birth control pills can affect cervical cancer. More research is needed to find a link between the use of birth control pills and an increased risk of cervical cancer.

9. Food

Aflatoxins are carcinogenic compounds produced by fungi Aspergillus flavus And A. parasiticus. A study found the presence of this compound in liver tissue samples and cervical cancer in humans.

This shows that aflatoxin is an important factor in triggering cervical cancer. A person can be exposed to these compounds when consuming contaminated plant products or consuming meat and milk from animals that eat contaminated plant products.

However, compared to cervical cancer, aflatoxin compounds are more often associated with liver cancer.

Apart from foods that contain aflatoxin, every type of food that is carcinogenic should certainly be avoided. Foods that cause cervical cancer can include processed meats, alcoholic beverages, and junk food.

10. Immune System Disorders

This decreased immune system can be caused by several factors such as long-term use of corticosteroid drugs, organ transplants, and having HIV.

When a person has a low immune system, it will be difficult for the body to fight cancer growth early on.

11. Exposure to Diethylstilbestrol

exposure diethylstilbestrol can increase a person’s chances of developing cervical cancer. A person who is exposed to diethylstilbestrol must have an annual pelvic examination to determine whether or not there is abnormal cell development in the reproductive area.

Diethylstilbestrol This is a drug used to prevent miscarriage. The use of this drug for this purpose is estimated to date from 1940 to 1970.

If you are a woman born in that year and your mother has used diethylstilbestrolit means that you are among the people exposed to this drug.

12. Socioeconomic Factors

World Health Organization (WHO) states that cervical cancer mostly affects women who live in countries with low and middle income.

This proves that socioeconomic factors also play a role in the development of cervical cancer. This disease affects many women who have limited access to cervical cancer screening.

As a result of not carrying out routine screening, cervical cancer is detected late and is more difficult to cure.

Also Read: Types of Exercise You Can Do to Prevent Cervical Cancer

13. Genetic Factors

Having blood relatives with cervical cancer can also increase the risk by 2-3 times. This is caused by the body’s inability to ward off HPV infection and can be passed on to the next generation.

Cervical Cancer Symptoms

Cervical cancer takes 10-20 years to develop from healthy cells into cancer cells. This disease initially causes no symptoms at all, so, generally women are unaware of the symptoms and dangers.

Most people with cervical cancer will only realize when the cancer has entered a more advanced stage. In fact, the delay in diagnosis makes the death rate very high.

The following are symptoms of cervical cancer that you need to know, including:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles.
  • Abnormal bleeding from the vagina.
  • Pain in the pelvis (lower abdomen).
  • Pain during intercourse.
  • The body gets tired easily.
  • Weight loss drastically.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Discharge vaginal discharge abnormal discharge from the vagina accompanied by blood and an unpleasant odor

Also Read: 3 Characteristics of Normal and Abnormal Leucorrhoea in Women (Beware!)

The Importance of Screening for Cervical Cancer

Every woman over the age of 21 is encouraged to do cervical cancer screening regularly. This is very important, considering that the cause of cervical cancer is HPV, a type of virus that is commonly found in the human body and can be transmitted easily.

If you already know that you have an HPV infection and maybe some risk factors for cervical cancer, of course, prevention can also be done earlier.

Early detection of cancer is very important to do, because the higher the severity of the cancer, of course, the smaller the life expectancy.

The following is the frequency of cervical cancer screening needed according to age:

  • 21-29 years: PAP smear once every 3 years
  • 30-65 years: PAP smear every 3 years or an HPV test every 5 years or PAP smear and a concurrent HPV test every 5 years

In addition to carrying out routine checks, don’t forget to adopt a healthy lifestyle to avoid cervical cancer. You can start by maintaining a balanced nutritional food intake, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly.

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