Drinking Alcohol and Risk of Cervical Cancer
Consuming alcohol, even frequently and in large quantities, is not a risk factor for developing cevical cancer.
Based on their analyses of the scientific research evidence, that is the conclusion of the American Cancer Society, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Cancer Institute, the United Kingdom's National Health Service, the Canadian Cancer Society, Cancer Council Australia, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Mayo Clinic, and other health agencies and organizations.
Cervical cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women around the world. Approximately 471,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and a woman dies of cervical cancer about every two minutes.
Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer
Human papillomavirus infection. The most important risk factor for developing cancer of the cervix is infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Most people are infected by HPV but the bodies of most of those who are infected are able to destroy the infection on their own. Researchers believe that women must be infected by HPV before they develops cervical cancer.
Smoking. Women who smoke are about twice as likely to develop cervical cancer as those who don't smoke.
Number of sexual partners. Women who have sex with more partners (male or female) are more likely to develop cervical cancer.
HIV infection. Women who are infected with HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus) are more likely to develop cervical cancer.
Chlamydia infection. Infection with Chlamydia, a common bacterium spread by sexual contact, increases the risk of cancer of the cervix.
Birth control pills. The risk of developing cervical cancer increases the longer a woman takes birth control pills (oral contraceptives) but decreases after the pills are no longer taken.
IUD use. The risk of developing cancer of the cervix is reduced for a woman who has ever used an IUD or intrauterine device, even for less than one year, and remains low after use is discontinued.
Condom and diaphram use. The consistent use of a condom or diaphram every time a woman has sex reduces her risk of cervical cancer.
Giving birth before age 17. Women who give birth before the age of 17 are almost twice as likely to develop cervical cancer later in life than women who are age 25 years or older before giving birth.
Having three or more births. Women who have have given birth to three or more children have an increased risk of developing cervical cancer.
Poverty. Living in poverty increases the risk of cervical cancer.
Diet. Eating low quantities of fruits and vegetables increases the risk of cervical cancer.
Exposure to DES before birth. DES (Diethylstilbestrol) is a drug that was sometimes given to pregnat women between 1940 and 1971 to prevent miscarriage. Women whose mothers took DES when pregnant with them suffer a higher risk of cervical cancer.
Family history of cervical cancer. The risk of developing cervical cancer is two to three times higher if a woman's mother or sister had the disease.
Age. The risk of cervical cancer increases up to about the age of 40, at which time it remains relativelyt steady.
Pap test. Women who have a regular Pap test are less likely to develop cervical cancer. If pre-cancerous cells are discovered early, the patient can be treated before they turn into cancer.
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
The most common symptoms of cervical cancer are:
- vaginal bleeding between periods
- vaginal bleeding after menopause
- menstrual bleeding that is longer or heavier than usual
- bleeding after intercourse
- pain during intercourse
- unusual vaginal discharge
- excessive tiredness
- leg swelling or pain
- low back pain
Having one or more of these symptoms does not mean that a woman necessarily has cervical cancer, but she should always check with her physician.
Note: This website is informational only and does not provide any health or medical recommendations and none should be inferred.
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Filed Under: Womens Health