Cancer of the cervix is the third most common cancer among women worldwide and its etiology is not clearly understood. Human papillomavirus can be found in approximately 95% of cervical cancers, but it does not appear to be necessary or sufficient to induce malignancy. In 1977, Winkelstein suggested that cigarette smoking was a causative factor in the development of cervical cancer. We report a meta-analysis of cigarette smoking and cervical disease and conclude that the data support a role for cigarette smoking as a risk factor for cervical cancer. We propose a multifactorial hypothesis involving a virus-tar interaction as the etiology of cervical cancer.
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