Victor Ernest O.
Dr Kunden Deyin, the Plateau Commissioner of Health, says research has shown that women who become sexually active before the age of 18 are more at risk to cervical cancer.
Dr Deyin told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos this is because the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) easily infects sexually active women in that age category due to the premature cells in their cervix.
He defined HPV as an infection that can be sexually transmitted and some of the viruses can cause cells in the cervix to mutate. He further explained that once mutation occurs, the cell-repairing mechanism either repairs the damage or kills the abnormal cell.
The medical practitioner added that in rare cases, the cell may proliferate and create more abnormal cells giving rise to cancer.
According to the commissioner, HPV spreads via unprotected sexual intercourse especially in women who have multiple sex partners.
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 make healthy lifestyle choices and to conduct medical tests at regular intervals to aid the early detection of all cancerous cells.