Cervical Cancer Prevention (PDQ�)
What is prevention?
To prevent new cancers from starting,
Some risk factors for cancer can be avoided, but many cannot. For example, both smoking and inheriting certain
Different ways to prevent cancer are being studied, including:
Changing lifestyle or eating habits.
Avoiding things known to cause cancer.
medicinesto treat a precancerouscondition or to keep cancer from starting.
General Information About Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the cervix.
See the following
Cervical Cancer Screening Cervical Cancer Treatment
Screening for cervical cancer using the Pap test has decreased the number of deaths from cervical cancer.
The number of deaths from cervical cancer has decreased since widespread
Cervical Cancer Prevention
Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may help prevent cancer.
The following risk factors increase the risk of cervical cancer:
The most common cause of
HPV infections that cause cervical
Smoking cigarettes and breathing in
The following risk factors may increase the risk of cervical cancer:
High number of full-term pregnancies
Women who have had 7 or more full-term pregnancies may have an increased risk of cervical cancer.
Long-term use of oral contraceptives
Women who have used
The following protective factors may decrease the risk of cervical cancer:
Preventing HPV infection
HPV may be prevented by the following:
Avoiding sexual activity: HPV infection of the cervix is the most common cause of cervical cancer. Avoiding sexual activity decreases the risk of HPV infection.
barrierprotection or spermicidal gels: Some methods used to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) decrease the risk of HPV infection. The use of barrier methods of birth control (such as a condom or gel that kills sperm) help protect against HPV infection.
HPV Vaccine: Two HPV vaccines have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA). The HPV vaccines have been shown to prevent infection with the two types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers. The vaccines protect against infection with these types of HPV for 6 to 8 years. It is not known if the protection lasts longer. The vaccines do not protect women who are already infected with HPV.
The effect of diet on cervical cancer risk is not known.
Cancer prevention clinical trials are used to study ways to prevent cancer.
The purpose of some cancer prevention clinical trials is to find out whether actions people take can prevent cancer. These may include eating fruits and vegetables, exercising, quitting smoking, or taking certain
New ways to prevent cervical cancer are being studied in clinical trials.
Clinical trials are taking place in many parts of the country. Information about clinical trials can be found in the Clinical Trials section of the
Get More Information From NCI
For more information, U.S. residents may call the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) Cancer Information Service toll-free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time. A trained Cancer Information Specialist is available to answer your questions.
The NCI's LiveHelp� online chat service provides Internet users with the ability to chat online with an Information Specialist. The service is available from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday. Information Specialists can help Internet users find information on NCI Web sites and answer questions about cancer.
Write to us
For more information from the NCI, please write to this address:
NCI Public Inquiries Office
6116 Executive Boulevard, MSC8322
Bethesda, MD 20892-8322
Search the NCI Web site
The NCI Web site provides online access to information on cancer, clinical trials, and other Web sites and organizations that offer support and resources for cancer patients and their families. For a quick search, use the search box in the upper right corner of each Web page. The results for a wide range of search terms will include a list of "Best Bets," editorially chosen Web pages that are most closely related to the search term entered.
There are also many other places to get materials and information about cancer treatment and services. Hospitals in your area may have information about local and regional agencies that have information on finances, getting to and from treatment, receiving care at home, and dealing with problems related to cancer treatment.
The NCI has booklets and other materials for patients, health professionals, and the public. These publications discuss types of cancer, methods of cancer treatment, coping with cancer, and clinical trials. Some publications provide information on tests for cancer, cancer causes and prevention, cancer statistics, and NCI research activities. NCI materials on these and other topics may be ordered online or printed directly from the NCI Publications Locator. These materials can also be ordered by telephone from the Cancer Information Service toll-free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).
Changes to This Summary (12/16/2011)
Changes were made to this summary to match those made to the health professional version.
Questions or Comments About This Summary
If you have questions or comments about this summary, please send them to Cancer.gov through the Web site?s Contact Form. We can respond only to email messages written in English.
PDQ is a comprehensive cancer database available on NCI's Web site.
PDQ is the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) comprehensive cancer information database. Most of the information contained in PDQ is available online at NCI's Web site. PDQ is provided as a service of the NCI. The NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health, the federal government's focal point for biomedical research.
PDQ contains cancer information summaries.
The PDQ database contains summaries of the latest published information on cancer prevention, detection, genetics, treatment, supportive care, and complementary and alternative medicine. Most summaries are available in two versions. The health professional versions provide detailed information written in technical language. The patient versions are written in easy-to-understand, nontechnical language. Both versions provide current and accurate cancer information.
The PDQ cancer information summaries are developed by cancer experts and reviewed regularly.
Editorial Boards made up of experts in oncology and related specialties are responsible for writing and maintaining the cancer information summaries. The summaries are reviewed regularly and changes are made as new information becomes available. The date on each summary ("Date Last Modified") indicates the time of the most recent change.
PDQ also contains information on clinical trials.
A clinical trial is a study to answer a scientific question, such as whether a certain drug or nutrient can prevent cancer. Trials are based on past studies and what has been learned in the laboratory. Each trial answers certain scientific questions in order to find new and better ways to help cancer patients and those who are at risk for cancer. During prevention clinical trials, information is collected about the effects of a new prevention method and how well it works. If a clinical trial shows that a new method is better than one currently being used, the new method may become "standard." People who are at high risk for a certain type of cancer may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial.
Listings of clinical trials are included in PDQ and are available online at NCI's Web site. Descriptions of the trials are available in health professional and patient versions. Many cancer doctors who take part in clinical trials are also listed in PDQ. For more information, call the Cancer Information Service 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).