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Bol Oficina Sanit Panam. 1990 Jul;109(1):6-26.

[The risk factors of invasive carcinoma of the cervix uteri in Latin America].

[Article in Spanish]

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Unidad Nacional de Cancerología, Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, San José, Costa Rica.


A study of 759 patients with invasive cervical cancer, 1,430 controls, and 689 sexual partners of the participants who declared that they were monogamous was conducted in Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Panama from January 1986 to June 1987, to evaluate the risk factors associated with this neoplasm. The principal risk factors identified were: initiation of sexual relations by the woman at an early age, number of stable sexual partners (relationships of more than three months' duration), number of liveborn children, presence of DNA from human papilloma virus (HPV) types 16 or 18, history of venereal disease, lack of exposure to early detection programs, deprived socioeconomic conditions, and number of sexual partners of the partners of the monogamous women. Smoking increased the risk in those women who were shown to have DNA from HPV types 16 or 18. Fifty percent of the patients and 29% of the controls said they had never had a cytological examination (Papanicolaou test). No association was observed between the presence of HPV and sexual behavior. The study showed the need for further research on the possible mechanisms involved in carcinogenesis and infection. The common denominators of the risk factors mentioned are underdevelopment and poverty, which affect broad sectors of these populations. Mass detection programs targeting high-risk groups can reduce the high incidence of cervical cancer in Latin America.

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