Is sex the cause of cervical cancer? Study throws light

Is sex the cause of cervical cancer? Study throws light

Cervical cancer occurs due to human papillomavirus (HPV) generally transmitted through sexual contact. Then is it possible for a person to develop cervical cancer if they have never had sex? The possibility is very low, according to National Health Services (NHS) of the UK 

Normally HPV spreads via skin-to-skin or skin-to-mucosal contact during sexual activity. However, penetrative sexual intercourse is not the only way a person can contract HPV. A person can contract HPV even if penis never goes inside the vagina, anus, or mouth, according to the NHS study.

HPV transmission occurs due to oral sex, genital touching, sharing sex toys and the transfer of vaginal fluids on the hands and fingers. HPV can be contracted via non-sexual contact too. A 2016 study found that 11 percent of babies had contracted HPV during delivery. However, the risk is very low.

The other factors unrelated to HPV that can cause cervical cancer include smoking, long-term use of oral contraceptives, family history and a weakened immune system. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists recommends that those aged 21 and over attend cervical cancer screening. However, the US-based National Cancer Institute says that most HPV infections, out of 200 types, do not cause cancer. Most patients clear the virus naturally. Screening and detecting early are key in the battle.

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