22 February 2019

Does promiscuity increase the risk of cervical cancer?

A sharp rise in the incidence of cervical cancer among young Shanghai women has been traced by experts to having sex from an earlier age and with multiple partners.

Shi Huijing, an associate professor of the School of Public Health at Fudan University, said young women aged 15 to 24 are most vulnerable to human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer, which grow from the cervix of a uterus, Shanghai Daily reported Thursday.

Having sex from an early age and with multiple partners increases the risk, Shi was quoted as saying at the launch of a cervical cancer prevention education program.

In Shanghai, 10 percent of women with cervical cancer are younger than 35, compared with less than 2 percent in 1970, data from the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention showed.

While HPV infection will not necessarily lead to cervical cancer, other factors — including smoking, microbe infections, vitamin deficiency and hormonal and immune system issues — can trigger the disease, Shi said.

On the other hand, having a steady sexual partner can lower the likelihood of HPV infection, the newspaper cited experts as saying.

Cervical cancer is second only to breast cancer among the types of cancer affecting women in China. the report said.

The report did not say if Shi’s study has been peer-reviewed, or if the views of other experts were sought regarding the professor’s findings.

But the report may bring up once again the issue of promiscuity, or having casual sex with different partners.

This sexual behavior is often viewed in a negative light when it applies to a woman, but seldom when it’s the man doing it, and women’s rights advocates have time and again railed against this double standard.

– Contact HKEJ [email protected]


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