Reduce Your Risk of Cervical Cancer

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 21:  University of Miami pediatrician, Judith L. Schaechter, M.D., gives an HPV vaccination to a 13-year-old girl in her office at the Miller School of Medicine on September 21, 2011 in Miami, Florida. The vaccine for human papillomavirus, or HPV, is given to prevent a sexually transmitted infection that can cause cancer. Recently the issue of the vaccination came up during the Republican race for president when Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) called the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer "dangerous" and said that it may cause mental retardation, but expert opinion in the medical field contradicts her claim. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, also a presidential contender, has taken heat from some within his party for presiding over a vaccination program in his home state. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Reduce Your Risk of Cervical Cancer

Black women are more likely to die from cervical cancer.

Published September 8, 2014

It is estimated that 1 of out of every 3 people in the United States knows someone with cancer. Its unfortunately becoming commonplace to find out someone has been diagnosed with some form of cancer. And cervical cancer is no different. One of our followers asks: “What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk?

Cervical Cancer Causes

Infection with certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) is believed to be the major cause of cervical cancer. Other risk factors include:

—Birth control pills: A 2003 scientific review of 28 studies found that compared to women who never took oral contraceptives, those who were on the pill for less than five years had a 10 percent increased risk of cervical cancer; those who took it for five to nine years had a 60 percent increased risk. The same study found that the risk returns to normal 10 years after a woman stops taking oral contraceptives.

 

—Smoking: Women who smoke have twice the normal risk of non-smokers. Tobacco byproducts have been found in the cervical mucus of women who smoke, and researchers believe that these substances damage the DNA of cervical cells.

—Pregnancies: More than three full term pregnancies are associated with an increased risk. The reason is unknown.

—Diet: A diet low in fruits and vegetables increases the risk.

DES: Daughters of women who took the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES) during pregnancy between the years 1940 and 1971 may be at increased risk of a rare form of cervical cancer. DES is no longer given to pregnant women.

Read more about reducing your cervical cancer risk at BlackDoctor.Org.

BET Health News - We go beyond the music and entertainment world to bring you important medical information and health-related tips of special relevance to Blacks in the U.S. and around the world. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Written by Dr. P. Gould, BlackDoctor.Org

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