Almost all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus or HPV, a common virus that can be passed from one person to another during sex. There are many types of HPV. Some HPV types can cause changes on a woman’s cervix that can lead to cervical cancer over time, while other types can cause genital or skin warts.
HPV is so common that most people get it at some time in their lives. HPV usually causes no symptoms so you can’t tell that you have it. For most women, HPV will go away on its own; however, if it does not, there is a chance that over time it may cause cervical cancer.
Other things that can increase your risk of cervical cancer include smoking, having HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) or another condition that makes it hard for your body to fight off health problems, having given birth to three or more children, and having several sexual partners.
You can reduce your risk of cervical cancer. If you use tobacco, quit now. You can call 323-QUIT (7848) for tobacco cessation classes and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) that are available at the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. to help you quit that habit. Using condoms and getting a Pap test regularly can also help to reduce your risk of cervical cancer. Condoms are available at no cost through the Family Planning Program and the HIV/STD Prevention Program. The above services are made available with federal grants and local funds under CHCC’s Division of Public Health’s Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Bureau, Maternal and Child Health Bureau and the Communicable Disease Bureau. To find out more on how you can avail of these services, please call 236-8703 or 236-8727.
Information on this page is provided byhttp://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/basic_info/risk_factors.htm, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseaases-conditions/cervical-cancer/basics/risk-factors/con-20030522, the CNMI Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, and the Breast and Cervical Screening Program.