Risk factors for the progression from HPV infection to cervical cancer include:
- multiple sexual partners or sexual partner with multiple sexual partners
- sexual intercourse at earlier age
- co-infection with sexually-transmitted diseases
- weakened immunity such as infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- long term use of oral contraceptive pills for more than 5 years ( the risk returns to normal after 10 years of stopping use)
- increasing parity (number of babies born) and younger age at first pregnancy
Despite the above risk factors, regular cervical cancer screening and timely treatment of the detected pre-cancerous changes can prevent cervical cancer.
However, the most commonly neglected risk factor is failure to get a regular cervical cancer screen.
Prevention of cervical cancer
Cervical cancer can be prevented by reducing the HPV infection and the progression from persistent HPV infection to cervical cancer. Here are some preventive measures:
||Practise safer sex (such as avoid having multiple sexual partners and use condoms) to reduce the chance of HPV infection and to protect against sexually transmitted diseases
||Do not smoke
||Get HPV vaccination before initiation of sexual activity
Apart from the measures highlighted above, cervical cancer screening offers you additional protection.