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Risk Factors

Factors that appear to increase the risk of developing cervical cancer are:  

  • not having regular Pap tests (a test used to detect both dysplasia and cervical cancer) 
  • Infection of the cervix with human papillomavirus (HPV) 
  • becoming sexually active at a young age 
  • having many sexual partners or a sexual partner who has had many partners 
  • smoking 
  • having a weakened immune system (for example, from taking drugs after an organ transplant or having a disease such as AIDS) 
  • using birth control pills for a long time 
  • giving birth to many children
  • having taken diethylstilbestrol (DES) or being the daughter of a mother who took DES (a form of estrogen that was used between 1940 and 1971 to treat women with certain problems during pregnancy, such as miscarriages)

Some women develop cervical cancer without any of these risk factors.

Be sure to follow the recommendations for screening!

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