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Quit Smoking:
Cigarette Smoking and Cervical Cancer


Cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women worldwide, after breast cancer. It affects about 15,700 women in the United States each year, and 4,900 women die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. Risk factors include smoking, infection with human papilloma-virus and contraceptive use.

A study by Dr. Carolyn Runowicz at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York of 60 women who had advanced cervical cancer showed 85% were smokers and the rest had significant exposure to passive smoking, generally through spouses who smoked. While nicotine is generally not considered a causative agent, smoking may predispose a woman to the development of cervical cancer by lowering her immune surveillance at the cellular level.

Another study, carried out over a period of 10 years, reported that for women infected with the human papilloma-virus, smoking increases the risk of developing pre-cancer or cancer of the cervix.

Researchers studied 1,800 women, ages 16 or older, who were infected with HPV and who received their healthcare through Kaiser Permanente in Portland. Among those who smoked more than a pack a day, about 7 percent developed a pre-cancerous condition called cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia, grade 3, or CIN3. Or, they developed cancer of the cervix.

The combined rate for pre-cancer and cancer among HPV-infected women who never smoked was about 2.5 percent. Former smokers had about a 5 percent combined risk.

Quit smoking today!

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