ecancermedicalscience

Special Issue

Cancer prevention: cervical cancer

25 Jul 2019
Mamsau Ngoma, Philippe Autier

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women, and the seventh overall, with an estimated 528,000 new cases and 266,000 deaths in 2012 [1]. Almost nine out of ten (87%) cervical cancer deaths occur in the less-developed regions of the world. The cervical cancer incidence significantly increases after 20 years of age and peaks at 50 years of age. Because cervical cancer mainly affects African women at a relatively young age, the socio-economic consequences are enormous. The human papillomavirus (HPV) is central to the development of cervical neoplasia and can be detected in 99.7% of cervical cancers. Hence primary prevention aims at reducing human papillomavirus (HPV) infection by HPV vaccine administration. Secondary prevention involves cervical cancer screening and management of precancerous lesions via either Pap smear, visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) or with lugols iodine (VILI) or HPV testing for high-risk HPV types.

Conclusion: Sub-Saharan countries still have a long way to go in controlling the high burden of cervical cancer. Effective prevention methods exist, such as HPV vaccination and screening, but their affordability and implementation remain challenging for most of these countries. Despite that, there is still light on the horizon, as the cost of HPV vaccines has been steadily decreasing and most African countries are using the more cost-effective methods of cervical cancer screening.

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