Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the major risk factor for developing cervical cancer. Infection of the cervix with HPV is the most common cause of cervical cancer. Not all women with HPV infection, however, will develop cervical cancer. Women who do not regularly have a Pap smear to detect HPV or abnormal cells in the cervix are at increased risk of cervical cancer.
Other possible risk factors include the following:
- Smoking cigarettes
- Giving birth to many children
- Having many sexual partners
- Having first sexual intercourse at a young age
- Oral contraceptive use
- Weakened immune system