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What Causes Cervical Cancer?

We don’t know exactly what causes cervical cancer, but certain risk factors are believed to have an effect.

The most significant risk factors are:

* Human papillomavirus (HPV)

* Sexual history

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that can infect the genital tract, the external genitals and the area around the anus. The HPV types that produce genital warts are different from those that cause cervical cancer.

A woman has a higher-than-average risk of developing cervical if she has had multiple sexual partners, began having sexual relations before the age of 18 or has a partner who has had sexual contact with a woman with cervical cancer.

What are the other factors that play a role?

Poverty. Women who are poor may not have access to medical services. When such women develop cervical cancer, the disease usually remains undiagnosed and untreated until it has spread to other parts of the body.

Tobacco use. Women who smoke are about twice as likely to develop cervical cancer as women who do not.

Eating habits. A diet that doesn’t include ample amounts of fruits and vegetables can increase a woman’s risk of developing cervical cancer.

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