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Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Fall;2(4):240-4.

Cervical cancer: a preventable death.

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Department of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology, Harvard Medical School Boston, MA.


Cervical cancer kills 260,000 women annually, and nearly 85% of these deaths occur in developing nations, where it is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women. Disparities of health and poverty play a large role in this high mortality rate. Whereas routine Papanicolaou and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing has dramatically reduced cervical cancer deaths in Western nations, without proper infrastructure, facilities, and medical training, the rates of cervical cancer in developing nations will remain high. Studies on HPV DNA testing and the low-technology method of "screen and treat" are promising. In addition, reducing the cost and increasing the availability of HPV vaccines in developing nations brings hope and promise to the next generation of women.


Cervical cancer; Human papillomavirus; Human papillomavirus DNA testing; Human papillomavirus vaccine


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