Five tips for your patients on preventing cervical cancer
What causes cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer is almost always caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV)—the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. Affecting approximately 79 million Americans, HPV can be detected in 93 percent of all cervical cancers.

Yet the virus alone is not sufficient to cause cervical cancer. Other contributing factors include the following:

1. Smoking
2. Poor nutrition
3. A weakened immune system
4. Pregnancy

HPV is very common; up to 80 percent of sexually active people have been exposed at some point in their lives," says Summer Dewdney, MD, a gynecologic oncologist at Rush University Medical Center. But the vast majority never develop any symptoms, and the body's immune system can usually clear HPV on its own within two years....