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Risk Factors

Cervical cancer begins with abnormal changes in the cervical tissue. The risk of developing these abnormal changes has been associated with the following factors:

  • Relationship to sexual intercourse
    • Many partners during lifetime
    • Frequent intercourse
    • Early onset of sexual activity
    • First pregnancy in teenage years
    • Multiparity (several children) by mid 20s
  • Venereal diseases
    • Genital herpes (Herpes Simplex Virus type 2—HSV-2)
    • Human papilloma virus (HPV)
  • Race: incidence higher in blacks and Hispanics
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Poor genital hygiene
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Peak incidence over 40 years