Cervical Cancer - Risk Factors

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Did you have any of the risk factors for cervical cancer at the time of your diagnosis? If so, what were they?

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Risk factors

When you get a diagnosis of cervical cancer, it's natural to wonder what may have caused the disease. Doctors usually can't explain why one woman develops cervical cancer and another doesn't.

However, we do know that a woman with certain risk factors may be more likely than other women to develop cervical cancer. A risk factor is something that may increase the chance of developing a disease.

Studies have found that infection with the virus called HPV is the cause of almost all cervical cancers. Most adults have been infected with HPV at some time in their lives, but most infections clear up on their own. An HPV infection that doesn't go away can cause cervical cancer in some women.

Other risk factors, such as smoking, can act to increase the risk of cervical cancer among women infected with HPV even more.

A woman's risk of cervical cancer can be reduced by getting regular cervical cancer screening tests. If abnormal cervical cell changes are found early, cancer can be prevented by removing or killing the changed cells before they become cancer cells.

Another way a woman can reduce her risk of cervical cancer is by getting an HPV vaccine before becoming sexually active (between the ages of 9 and 26). Even women who get an HPV vaccine need regular cervical cancer screening tests.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: jmon42709, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 29

I tested positive 3 years ago for the HPV virus. I have had only one abnormal pap smear in the past. I have had 2 husbands in 37 years. Which means that I have had 2 sex partners during that time. I am scared. I am also a survivor of bladder cancer with 4 surgeries for that cancer. I have been free for 3 and 1/2 years. I do not know which husband was the carrier. I am not mad at him for the symptoms are silent in men. I made the mistake of not having a new pap smear in 3 years. I lost my job and insurance so I could not afford it. I am scared. I want to learn more and pass the information to others who do not understand. That is the key/education. We must educate all ages. As I talk to people, at least 75% do not know what it is. That is scary. My grand daughter is going to be vaccinated. She just turned 15 years old. This is real!

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Comment from: g, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 09

I am 26 have 2 children 5 years and 2 years old. When pregnant with my 1st child I had a very bad bleed during sex and was told by my doctor to have a smear test after I had the baby. Everything was ok, I never bled again so I never got the smear test done. In the last few months I have started bleeding during sex and sometimes between periods. For 3 weeks I've had a very bad pain in my lower back that pain killers will not take away. I went for a smear test yesterday and bled a lot. My dad has head and neck cancer, at the moment I am really scared, everything online says cancer.

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