All About the Causes of Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer ranks as the world’s fourth most prevalent cancer in women. 1 All those with a cervix are susceptible to this cancer, many cases being among those 30 years of age and older. 2 However, if diagnosed early, the disease is likely treatable. The causes and cures to cervical cancer are further explained below.

Cause of Cervical Cancer

The majority of cervical cancer cases can be attributed to the human papillomavirus, also known as HPV. This virus is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States where it is estimated that 85% of people will contract the virus at least once in their lifetime. 3 In most cases, people are unaware if they are HPV positive as this infection clears on its own majority of the time. However, in 10% of cases the virus isn’t expelled, it has the potential to manifest as cervical cancer. While there are over 100+ viral strains of HPV, only 13 types are known to cause cancer.

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus, also known as HIV, is also a risk factor for cervical cancer. Women with HIV have a sixfold higher risk of developing cervical cancer compared to those without HIV. Women with HIV have a weakened immune system and can potentially develop pre-cancerous lesions as a result of an untreated HPV infection.Thus many are made to raise awareness around both HIV and cervical cancer. 

Smoking is another known risk factor associated with cervical cancer. Women who smoke have approximately double the risk of developing cervical cancer compared to non-smokers. 5​ Smoking introduces tobacco by-products into the cervical mucus of women, which can lead to DNA damage in cervix cells and potentially contribute to the development of cervical cancer. Additionally, smoking weakens the immune system’s ability to combat HPV infections.
Other risk factors include low fruit and vegetable intake, having multiple-full term pregnancies or full term pregnancy before age twenty, and those who do not have adequate access to healthcare services to get cervical cancer sccreening.i


Despite these causes, cervical cancer is a disease that can be effectively treated if detected early. Pap smears are vital in detecting changes and identifying abnormal cells within the cervix. Screening recommendations are based on age and health history. Pap tests are recommended for those age 21 years and older despite sexual activity prior to this age. At Trust Women’s Healthcare we provide routine cervical cancer screening as part of our Annual Women’s Health Examinations. Always remember, prevention is better than cure, so schedule an appointment with us today!

  1. World Health Organization. Cervical cancer. Accessed August 6, 2023.
  2. Basic Information About Cervical Cancer | CDC. Published December 15, 2022. Accessed August 6, 2023.
  3. STD Facts – Human papillomavirus (HPV). Published December 20, 2022. Accessed July 26, 2023.
  4. Cervical cancer and HIV—two diseases, one response. Accessed August 6, 2023.
  5. Cervical Cancer Risk Factors | Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer. Accessed August 7, 2023.

About Dr. Peggy Roberts:

Dr. Peggy Roberts is a board certified, New York licensed Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. She has spent over a decade caring for women of all ages. She has extensive experience in preventative medicine for women, high-risk pregnancies, other medicine and aesthetics.

Media Contact:

Lana Schupbach
Autumn Lane Productions
[email protected]

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