Cervical cancer is one of the top cancer types affecting women in Singapore. Cervical cancer develops in the cervix, the body portion that connects the uterus to the vulva (vagina). The primary symptom is unregulated cell development in the cervix, which can migrate to other body regions such as the bladder and vagina. In this article, we will look at what the main causes of cervical cancer in Singaporeare.
Human Papillomavirus Virus and Cervical Cancer
The Human Papillomavirus virus (HPV) is the main reason for most cervical cancers. HPV is a common virus, but certain strains such as HPV16 and HPV18 can damage cells in the cervix and result in cervical cancer. Sexually active women are more likely to become infected because of the possibility of transmission through intercourse. Additionally, young women who engage in unprotected sexual activity are at greater risk.
Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer
Although the immune system wards off the HPV infection, certain conditions and habits allow the virus to remain longer in the system, increasing the risk of cervical cancer. Here are some of the most common risk factors:
- Smoking: Women who smoke are more likely to have cervical mucus that contains tobacco remnants. Studies show that these substances may cause DNA damage in cervix cells, which could lead to cervical cancer. An impaired immunological response to HPV infections is another side consequence of smoking.
- Multiple sex partners: A person is more likely to contract high-risk HPV strains if they begin having sex early in life or have several sex partners.
- History of infectious diseases: There is an increased chance of acquiring cervical cancer in those who have been infected earlier with gonorrhea, syphilis, or chlamydia.
- Weak immune system: Cervical cancer is more likely to strike those with weakened immune systems. Certain medicines, organ transplants, or the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome, can decrease the immune system. In addition, people with HIV have a weakened immune system, making them more vulnerable to developing cancer early.
This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.