Causes and prevention of cervical cancer
Most cervical cancers are caused by the HPV virus. HPV is a very common virus that is passed on during sex. Most women will get this infection in their lifetime and it usually clears up by itself. If you smoke, it can prevent the infection from clearing up.
Ongoing HPV infections can cause abnormal changes in the lining of your cervix. These changes, if left untreated, can lead to cervical cancer.
Not having regular smear tests can increase your risk of getting cervical cancer too.
The HPV vaccine will make antibodies that will protect you against many HPV types. The vaccine is licensed for girls and women aged 9–26. But it is proven to work best for girls and women who have not been exposed to the virus.
For more information, please visit our section on HPV.