Women who carry the human papillomavirus (HPV) and who smoke have a significantly increased chance of developing cervical cancer than HPV-infected women who don't smoke, according to a report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. "Smoking, but not oral contraceptive use or past number of live births, was linked with a two- or fourfold increased risk of cervical pre-cancer and cervical cancer," lead study author Philip Castle of the National Cancer Institute told Reuters Health.
The researchers examined 1,812 women taking part in a 10-year cervical cancer study who had tested positive for HPV infection. After 10 years of follow-up, the researchers found that women who smoked one or more packs of cigarettes per day were four times as likely as nonsmokers to experience precancerous or cancerous changes in the cervix. Smokers who had quit during the study period had about three times the risk of changes to the cervix.