Health Risk Assessment: Evaluating Your Risk for Cervical Cancer

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How do I assess my risk for cervical cancer?

Health Risk Assessment: Evaluating Your Risk for Cervical Cancer

Each year in the United States, about 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. Caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), cervical cancer is highly treatable if caught in the early stages. The cervix links the vagina and uterus together and is small, only about one inch around. It is part of the reproductive system.

To assess your health risk for cervical cancer, consider the risk factors below.

Age – Cervical cancer risk increases with age.

Cigarette smoking – Smoking increases your risk. Since smoking breaks down the body's cells and damages DNA, it can cause cancer.

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) –Certain STIs, especially HPV, can cause cervical cells to become cancerous.

High number of sexual partners – More partners means a higher chance of contracting HPV, thus a higher risk of cervical cancer.

Two or more children – Researchers don't know why, but if you've given birth to two or more children, your risk is higher.

No Pap tests – A Pap test is the single most effective way doctors have of screening for cervical cancer, and catching it early. If you're over 18 and aren't getting yearly Pap tests, your risk is higher.

   

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