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What increases my risk for gynecologic cancers?

Shelley C. Giebel, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)

One of the greatest risk for gynecologic cancer is obesity.  Cancer of the breast, ovary, endometrium (lining of the uterus), and cervix are more likely found in those with obesity.   Studies report that up to 90,000 cancer deaths annually could be prevented if individuals were living at their ideal weight.

Smoking increases your risk for cervical cancer in addition to numerous other medical conditions.  Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted infection that accounts for the majority of cervical cancers today.

Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables and exercising are vital behaviors that everyone can do to lower their chances of cancer.

Risk factors for gynecologic cancers include age and heredity. A history of breast cancer or infertility can raise your risk of developing certain types of gynecologic cancers, such as ovarian cancer. HIV or HPV infections can elevate your risk of some forms of gynecologic cancers. Obesity, hormone replacement therapy, tobacco use, and having multiple sexual partners are other factors that can raise your risk of developing one of the gynecologic cancers.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.