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Cervical Cancer Causes

Any cancer starts when a healthy cell acquires a genetic mutation which is responsible for converting normal cells to abnormal cells. There is a specific cycle for healthy cells – that is growing, multiplying and dying at a set pace and set time, but cancerous cells grow and multiply out of control and do not die. These abnormal cells accumulate and form a mass of cells called tumor. This cancer tumor can spread to the near by tissues or can spread in other regions or organs of the body (metastasize).

Squamous cells are the flat cells that line the bottom of the cervix, most commonly a cervical cancer occurs in these thin squamous cells.

Almost 80% of cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas; another 15% cervical cancers can occur in the glandular cells which line the upper portion of the cervix. Many times a cervical cancer can occur in both these cells; very rarely cervical cancer can occur in other cells that line the cervix.

Causes of Cervical Cancer
The exact cause of cervical cancer which is responsible to convert normal healthy cells to abnormal cancerous cells is still not clear. But it is certain that human papilloma virus (HPV) plays an important role as most of the cervical cancers are caused by this virus. There are many different types of HPV virus out of which 12 are the most important ones. Each of these HPV have been assigned a number out of which 5 are most commonly associated with igniting cervical cancer – 16, 18, 31, 33 and 45. However HPV is a very common virus, not all women infected with this virus can develop cervical cancer.

HPV belongs to the family of virus that is responsible for causing genital warts; but the virus that cause genital warts may not put a woman at risk for developing cervical cancer. HPV virus spreads through sexual intercourse and may produce no symptoms at all because in most women the immune system will work towards getting rid of the infection. This way some women might not even be aware of the infection they had, but a small proportion of women the five listed HPV virus above can develop cervical cancer.

Other cervical cancer causes are some risk factors which put a woman at risk of developing this disease. Common risk factors include genetic makeup, environmental and lifestyle choices. Another cervical cancer cause includes having multiple sexual partners, commencing sex at an early age (usually before the age of 16), and long term use of some contraceptive pills, smoking and a weak immune system.

Submitted on October 27, 2008