Globally, there were an estimated 570,000 new cases of cervical cancer in 2018, representing almost 7 percent of all cancers that affect women. This cancer is most frequently diagnosed among women ages 35-44.
The cervix sits at the bottom of the uterus and connects the uterus to the vagina. AICR’s latest report that analyzed cervical cancer found no strong evidence linking any aspect of food, nutrition and physical activity to the risk of this cancer.
Currently, the best way to protect against cervical cancer is to avoid risk factors when possible. Getting an HPV vaccine, using barrier protection during sexual activity and getting screenings can help reduce the number of cervical cancer cases.
Lifestyle and cervical cancer risk.
- Infectious agents
Almost all cervical cancers are associated with a carcinogenic human papillomavirus (HPV).
- Women become susceptible to developing cervical cancer following infection with a carcinogenic HPV type, but there are other environmental factors that contribute to it too.
- Sexual experiences
Early sexual experiences and a relatively high number of sexual partners increase the risk and severity of HPV infection.
- This may be seen as an indirect cause of cervical cancer.
Dethylstilboestrol (a synthetic estrogen, now withdrawn) used by women during pregnancy is a cause of vaginal and cervical clear-cell adenocarcinoma in their daughters.
Smoking tobacco increases the risk of cervical cancer.
- Women who smoke are twice as likely to develop cervical cancer as those who don’t. The effect of smoking tobacco, however, is independent to that of the viral infection.
The science of survival.
AICR’s health guides and recommendations are developed from research that focuses on how nutrition and lifestyle affect the prevention, treatment, and survival of cancer. Paramount to our updates is the Continuous Update Project which helps you stay on top of new findings, and understand the data that sits at the center of our work.