Long-term Effects of Multiparity on Cervical and Ovarian Cancer

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences

First Advisor

Murray R Berkowitz, DO, MA, MS, MPH

Second Advisor

Francis E Jenney Jr, PhD

Third Advisor

Mary P. Owen, PhD, JD


The purpose of this study was to analyze the epidemiologic relationship between multiple pregnancies resulting in live births, henceforth referred to as multiparity, and the incidence of ovarian and cervical cancer. Specifically, the author has examined the hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy and correlated any significant shifts with an increase or decrease in the incidence of the cancers. In the case of ovarian cancer, particular attention has been given to the investigation of the theory of incessant ovulation and the role gonadotropic stimulation plays in the malignant formation of tumors within the epithelium of the ovary. In the case of cervical cancer, examination of hormonal alterations that may influence the body's response to high risk human papillomavirus, and thus, lead to cervical cancer, were evaluated. In addition to a thorough review of literature, the author has examined 159 counties in the state of Georgia and, using inferential statistics, attempted to establish a relationship between multiparity/ general fertility rates and the incidence of ovarian/ cervical cancer. This study, while limited, was significant because as a number of studies (1), (2), (3) investigate the role of endocrinological function on cancer, limited focus has been dedicated to examining pregnancy hormones and its relation to cancer. The establishment of more effective screening techniques, including a woman's lifelong exposure to estrogen and progesterone (via contraceptives and number of births), coupled with current screening techniques (i.e. routine PAP smears, colposcopies) is essential to identifying those individuals potentially considered as high-risk patients; ultimately leading to better prognoses, and working in collaboration towards the eventual goal of reduction in deaths from cancer.

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