Dr Kunden Deyin, the Plateau Commissioner of Health, says research has shown that women who engage in active sex before age of 18 are more prone to cervical cancer.
Deyin told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Jos that such case could occur because the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) easily infected a young woman’s cervix due to premature cells in the cervix.
HPV is an infection that can be sexually transmitted and some of the viruses can cause cells in the cervix to mutate.
“Once mutation occurs, the cell repairing mechanism either repairs the damage or kills the abnormal cell.
“In rare cases, this cell may proliferate and create more abnormal cells giving rise to cancer.
“This is because most cases of cervical cancer are caused by certain strains of the HPV which spread through sexual contact,” he explained.
According to the commissioner, HPV spreads via unprotected sexual intercourse.
He listed two types of HPV that had the highest risk of causing cervical cancer as the HPV16 and HPV18.
Deyin said women who had multiple sexual partners also had increased risk of developing cervical cancer.
“Women, who have multiple sex partners, are at greater risk of developing cancer of the cervix,’’ he said.
The commissioner said routine pap testing was the best way to detect abnormal changes to the cervix before they developed into cancer.
He advised people to desist from reckless life styles and behaviours that could predispose them to various forms of cancer.
He also advised the people to conduct routine medical tests for early detection and management of cancer.