What causes Cervical Cancer?
Normal cells show controlled growthGenerally in the transformation of normal tissue to cancer, the changes happen at the level of single cells. A tissue is formed from many single cells. They show a regular cycle of cell growth and cell death. So generally a developed normal organ will not show a focal growth.
If natural "switches" controlling these cell cycles are damaged, uncontrolled growth will result. As soon as a certain number of cells develops uncontrolled growth, a node will develop.Malignancy means uncontrolled growth and also uncontrolled spreading of cells, not only resulting in the development of nodes, but also resulting in spread of the tumorous tissue.
Which factors make cells behave abnormally?
Several factors might directly or indirectly affect such "switches" controlling cell growth in cervical cells.
A main factor and cause identified is an infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV). Cervical tissue infected with this agent is endangered to transform into cancer.
In particular, HPV-16, HPV-18, HPV-31, and HPV-45 are virus strains which can cause cellular changes that may lead to cervical cancer.
Other risk factors have been identified to cause cervical cancer:
- Cigarette smoke (active and passive smoking). Cigarette smoke could act as a cofactor that promotes progression of cervical carcinogenesis
- Multiple sex partners, sexual history (first sexual activity at early age)
- Diet (which is low in fruit and vegetables)
- HIV (probably by generally weakening the immune system)
- Oral contraceptives: some evidence for negative effects of long-term use
- Diethylstilbestrol (DES), a hormonal drug occasionally prescribed until 1971, increasing the risk of cervical cancer in these women’s daughters.
- www.cancer.gov (Information about tobacco and cancer)
- www.cancer.gov (Information about DES)
- www.cancerhelp.org.uk (General Information about causes and risk factors)
This page was last updated:
May 22, 2006It is not the intention of Cervicalcancer.org to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided, and Cervicalcancer.org urges you to consult with a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your personal questions.