Cervical cancer used to be the leading cause of death in women in the United States, according to the CDC. Thankfully, with routine pelvic exams and Pap tests, the rates have gone down dramatically. But there is still more to do to lower the rates of cervical cancer and protect women from this disease.
One way to lower the likelihood of developing cervical cancer is to learn all of your risk factors. A risk factor is something that places you at an increased chance of developing a disease. The more risk factors you have for cervical cancer, the greater chance you have at developing it. Keep reading to learn more about the many risk factors for cervical cancer.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the number one risk factor for developing cervical cancer and is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States says the CDC. There are over 40 types of HPV that can infect the genital region. The high-risk types of HPV infections are the ones that are linked to cervical cancer reports the American Cancer Society.
HPV has no known cure but there are ways for healthcare professionals to manage the infection. Even better, you can avoid contracting HPV by getting an HPV vaccine to protect your body against some types of the virus. It’s important to remember that not every type of HPV causes cervical cancer. If you’ve been diagnosed with an HPV infection talk to your doctor about your treatment options.