Oral contraceptives, human papillomavirus and cervical cancer


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Abstract

Oncogenic human papillomavirus is the key determinant of cervical cancer, but other risk factors interact with it to define individual risk. Among these, there is oral contraceptive (OC) use. A quantitative review of the link between OCs and cervical cancer was performed. Long-term (>5 year) current or recent OC use has been related to an about two-fold excess risk of cervical cancer. Such an excess risk, however, levels off after stopping use, and approaches unity 10 or more years after stopping. The public health implications of OC use for cervical cancer are limited. In any case, such implications are greater in middle-income and low-income countries, as well as in central and eastern Europe and Latin America, where cervical cancer screening and control remain inadequate.

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