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Cervical Cancer - Causes and Risk Factors

Infection with Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common cause or risk factor for cervical cancer. These viruses are transmitted during sexual intercourse, as well as via oral or anal sex. 

Other risk factors for cervical cancer include: 

  • Sexual intercourse at an early age (before age 20) 
  • Having multiple sexual partners 
  • Other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), e.g. chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and HIV/AIDS 
  • Medical conditions or treatments that affect the immune system, e.g. autoimmune disease, taking long-term steroids or immunosuppressant drugs 
  • Solid organ transplant 
  • Past diagnosis of pre-cancerous stage cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) 
  • Smoking