Cervical cancer forms when abnormal cells in the mouth of the uterus called as cervix grows out of control. It can be successfully treated if found early. Cancer cervix is caused by a viral infection called human papillomavirus which is transmitted by sexual contact with someone who has it. Only the high-risk varieties can cause cancer others cause genital warts. Most adults are infected with HPV at some point in time and the infection in majority cases disappears on its own. Some may increase and cause genital warts or cancer cervix. Regular PAP smear test can detect these changes early and hence can be treated early and completely.
HPV infection causes changes in the DNA of cells. This change is called as a mutation. Mutation can cause uncontrolled cell growth, cells continue to grow and form tumour. 99% of cancer cervix is because of HPV infection. There are more than 100 types of HPV viruses. 15 types are known to cause high-risk cancer cervix. Of these two types have the highest risk i.e. HPV 16 and 18 which cause 70% of the cancers.
Multiparity- Women with 3 or more children are at increased risk. This is because hormonal changes during pregnancy can make cervix more vulnerable to the effects of HPV virus
Herpes– Women with genital herpes are at higher risk
Age – women over 40 years need to take the screening test more seriously
Socioeconomic group– Incidence is more in the lower socioeconomic group as they are less likely to get the screening done.
Having evaluated the causes of cancer cervix, the conclusion is that many factors are preventable and moreover screening can help in detection and treatment of the cases. Also, there is a vaccine available against HPV which can be given at the eligible age and time so that HPV infection does not occur. Warts and cancer can be prevented in this manner.