Causes of cervical cancer: Is HPV the culprit?

Gytree Team
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Causes of cervical cancer

Verified by Dr. Vaishali Sakpal Rane (MBBS, DGO Obstetrics and Gynaecology, DNB Obstetrics and Gynaecology)

Cancer that begins in the cervix is cervical cancer. The cervix is a part of the reproductive system and is sometimes called the neck of the womb. It connects the vagina to the upper part of the uterus or womb. In most of the cases, the main causes of cervical cancer are certain strains of HPV (human papillomavirus). There are many different types of HPV, some of these types can cause health issues, like genital warts and cancers. Despite being largely preventable, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer of women in India and a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women.

In recent years, there have been a lot of studies done to understand the changes in the cells of the cervix when cancer develops. During the development of cervical cancer the normal cells of the cervix undergo mutation, due to which the DNA (the molecule in our cells that makes up our genetic material ) of these cells get abnormally modified. These abnormal cells divide uncontrollably, and accumulate together to form a tumour. Sometimes these cells have the ability to spread to other parts of the body.

Causes of cervical cancer

There are various ways through which a person can get HPV infection.

These ways include:

  • Having multiple sexual partners 
  • skin-to-skin contact of the genital area
  • sharing sex toys
  • vaginal,oral or anal sex

 A person who already has HPV can pass the infection to another person even when they have no signs or symptoms. HPV not only causes cervical cancer but also it can cause other cancers, like cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, or anus.

Usually cervical cancer grows very slowly so it’s difficult to see the symptoms but if you are seeing symptoms like bleeding from the vagina between the periods , pain during sex, Heavy menstrual bleeding than usual, Pelvic pain or Changes in vaginal discharge you must see a doctor.

With a little awareness and concern it is possible to prevent cervical cancer. HPV vaccination and regular screening tests can prevent cervical cancer and also reduce the mortality rate of this disease. Routine screening for women aged between 21 to 65 years old can prevent cervical cancer. Talk to your doctor to know more about the cervical cancer vaccine and screening tests.

Cervical cancer