The causes of cervical cancer are not yet known exactly. However, certain factors are known that increase the risk of the disease. The most important risk factor by far is undoubtedly infection with certain human papillomaviruses (HPV).
Human papillomaviruses include a large group of different types. Some of them cause warts on the skin and in the genital area, and are also transmitted during unprotected intercourse. However, only about 3 % women infected with papillomavirus actually develop cervical cancer.
Additional factors such as genetic mutations or a weakened immune system may influence tumor development. The development of the disease is also facilitated by genital infections caused by other pathogens and smoking. In addition, nutritional factors may also play a role.
An increased risk of cervical cancer is noted in the following cases:
- If you are infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV types 16 and 18). These viruses, namely parts of your genetic material, are found in almost all precancerous and malignant tumors of the cervix. It is believed that viruses, together with other factors, cause the degeneration of cervical cells.
- If the doctor detects pathological or even precancerous changes (dysplasia) in your cytological smear. Depending on the type of cell change, one speaks of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), adenomatous intraepithelial neoplasia (AIN), or cancer in situ (Carcinoma in situ CIN III).
- If you began to live sexually early and often changed sexual partners. It is believed that, along with other vaginal infections and diseases, HPV infections are also more often transmitted.
- If you suffer from chronic infections and sexually transmitted viral diseases (for example, gonorrhea or genital herpes).
- If the immune defense of the vagina is reduced. This is mainly noted in chronic nicotine abuse. Cancer-causing components of tobacco smoke are also found in cervical secretions and can have a damaging effect on the cervix. However, HIV infection or immunosuppressants can also weaken the immune system.
- If you have a need for vitamins. Citrus fruits, vegetables (especially garlic and onions), as well as vitamins C, E and A1 have a preventive effect. However, to date there is very little information available on this subject.
Cervical cancer at an early stage is asymptomatic. Therefore, early diagnosis is important.
Head of the clinic of mammology and gynecology
Head of the Clinic of Gynecology and Oncogynecology
Head of the Mammology Center
Head of the Center for Operative Gynecology
Head of the Regional Center for Pelvic Floor Surgery