Do Nuns Get Cervical Cancer? (Cancer Mortality Among Nuns)

As a theologian with respect and concern for life and health, I have always been interested in learning about cancer. During a visit to a mission hospital, I collected data on cancer mortality among women. The highest number of cancer patients were sexually active females with cervical cancer. I realized the implications of sexual activity in relation to cervical cancer and thought of nuns and their susceptibility to cervical cancer owing to their clerical celibacy. I initiated discussions on an online forum with my peers on this topic and enlightened them on my findings. Many of my fellow scholars raised the question as to whether nuns were immune to cervical cancer. After thorough research and groundwork, I had all the information I needed on their burning questions. So, do nuns get cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is rare among nuns. Cervical cancer is prevalent among sexually active individuals, as the virus responsible for the disease, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), is transmitted sexually. However, this is not to say that nuns are immune. There are speculations of isolated cases where celibate women still got cervical cancer. Like any other disease, cervical cancer came about as a curse of sin upon the world, according to Genesis 3:17. As such, all human beings can contract the disease, some less obviously than others.

Since cancer manifests in many forms, join me as I discuss the types of cancer common among nuns, risk factors, and the holistic measures they can take to lower their chances of contracting the disease.

What Cancer is Common for Nuns?

Cancer Mortality Among Nuns
What Cancer is Common for Nuns? Image source: Pixabay

According to studies, postmenopausal nuns displayed a high risk of developing intestinal cancer – that is, cancer of the large intestines. Most nuns between the ages of 40 and 74 had a high affinity for breast cancer. On the mid-high end of the spectrum are uterine and ovarian cancer, which nuns were susceptible to. Uterine and ovarian cancer are products of a continuous menstrual cycle without childbearing that results in the development of tumors and cysts in the uterus and ovaries.

Why do Some People Believe Nuns Can’t Get Cervical Cancer?

It is a common assumption that celibate people cannot get cervical cancer. As mentioned earlier, HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer, and the virus is sexually transmitted. Seeing as nuns practice celibacy, their risk factors are close to zero. However, studies suggest that other factors can contribute to cervical cancer – not just HPV. Such include a family history of inherited cancer genes that occurs when a family member, like a mother or a sister, has had cervical cancer. Furthermore, cervical cancer can develop as a result of previous cancers in the event the nun has or had one.

Why are Nuns at Risk of Getting Breast Cancer More Than Any Type of Cancer?

According to research, childbearing and breastfeeding reduce the risks of breast cancer. Estrogen fluctuations during pregnancy and breastfeeding decrease breast cancer diagnosis. Studies indicate that estrogen is a catalyst that speeds up cancer growth. Estrogen stimulates the division of breast tissue. This process carries cancer-carrying mutations. Nuns are celibate, so naturally, their chances of reducing breast cancer through reproduction are impossible.

What Can Nuns Do to Lower Their Chances of Cervical Cancer?

Do Nuns Get Cervical Cancer? 
What Can Nuns Do to Lower Their Chances of Cervical Cancer? Image source: Pixabay

Research states that nuns below the age of 26 can get vaccinated against HPV, the virus responsible for cervical cancer. Nuns between the ages of 27 – 45 can seek medical advice before getting an HPV vaccine. Screening tests are also necessary for safety purposes to monitor the presence of HPV that can cause cell changes.

Do Nuns Need Smear Tests?

Yes, nuns need smear tests to ascertain that they do not carry HPV and for their overall health and wellness.

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