Image: Shutterstock/CHAjAMP

What you need to know about cervical cancer before it's too late.

Petra Hapsari   15 June 2017 12:25

The recent death of actress Julia Perez due to cervical cancer is a warning for all women to be more aware of the disease.

It is important to know what cervical cancer is and how one can get it.

There are several things that can lead to cervical cancer, including genetic mutation or a change in DNA. However, in 99.7 percent of the cases, the cancer is caused by Human papilomavirus (HPV).

There are some factors that can cause a woman to suffer cervical cancer, including one's lifestyle and genetics.

Here are some habits that might trigger cervical cancer:

1. Sexual history

Some sexual activities might cause cervical cancer as well as the spread of Human papillomavirus (HPV), including having sex before the age of 18; having sex with numerous partners; and having sex with someone who had numerous sexual partners.

2. Smoking habit

A smoker and people around him/her are exposed to cancer-causing chemicals that affect their lungs and other organs. The dangerous molecules are absorbed through the lungs and taken to blood vessel all over the body. Smoking women are two times more risky to be affected by cervical cancer than those who do not smoke. Scientists believe that these chemicals might damage the DNA of cervical cells and contribute to the growth of cervical cancer.

3. Birth control pill

Women use oral contraceptive pills for more than five years are more risky to have the disease, yet the risk of getting it can be normal again after few years if they stop consuming the pills.

4. Diet

Those whose diet does not include fruits and vegetables are more risky to have cervical cancer.

Not only from their lifestyle, women whose mother or sisters who have ever been suffered from cervical cancer are two or three times more risky to get the disease.

However, there are other conditions who might put a woman at risk for cervical cancer:

1. Obesity

Overweight women are more risky to get cervical adenocarcinoma.

2. Pregnancy

Women who have been pregnant three times or more, or those who have been pregnant before 17, are reportedly two times more at risk for cervical cancer than those who have not.

3. Immunosuppression

HPV virus might be destroyed itself in 12 to 18 months for people with healthy immunity. However, people with HIV or other disease or those who use medicines that limit the immune system are at risk to have it.

4. Diethylstilbestrol (DES)

Women whose mothers ever uses DES, a medicine given to women to prevent miscarriage given in 1940 to 1971, are more risky to get cervical cancer.

5. HPV

This is the most prominent factor for cervical cancer. However, just in case you are carrying HPV, you do not need to worry since having it does not always mean you are now having cancer.

HPV is a skin infection, spread by skin to skin contact from one person who has the virus to another person.

It also spreads through sexual activities including vagina, anal and oral sex.

Different kinds of HPV cause warts in different part of body. Some have it on their hands and legs, while others are on lips or tongue.

Some kinds of HPV cause warts on or around genitals and anus on women and men. It is considered as a low risk since it is rarely related to cancer such as cervical, vulva and vaginal cancer on women.

It is believed that women should have HPV to get cervical cancer. Around 60% of all cervical cancer are caused by HPV 16 and 18.

HPV infection is a common thing and for most people, their body can clean the infection themselves.

However, in some cases, this infection does not go and it becomes chronic.

6. Chlamydia

It is a common bacterium which can infect reproduction system which spreads through sexual activities.

Chlamydia might cause pelvic inflammation and then infertility.

Women who had or have chlamydia have more chance to get cervical cancer than those who don’t.

Since there are no symptoms on those who have chlamydia, they might not know they are infected until they get tested.

P.S. While we're at it, we want to ask you to change your lifestyle to a healthier one, not only to prevent cervical cancer, but also to prevent other forms of cancer and other deadly diseases.

We know that vaccine/anti-vaccine debate is somehow still going on, but please take some time to see your doctor to get HPV vaccine shots.

It's better than being sorry later, right?

The article was previously published in and all medical data have been reviewed by a licensed medical doctor.

Health Women

Up Next: Djarot Officially Sworn In As Jakarta Governor

Brilio questionnaire

Hi, dearest Brilio English readers!

Spare some time to fill in our survey so we can upgrade our content quality for you!