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Human papillomavirus: HPV vaccination versus regular screening and good treatment

By H Verschueren


Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide. In 1976 Nobel Prize winner Zur Hausen proved that human papillomavirusen (HPV) were represented in 90% of the cervical cancer lesions. Cervical cancer appears to be related with, and as a result of, high-risk (oncogenic) HPV. To decrease the cancer incidence it is important to screen women aged 30 and over every five years. Two most used screening methods are cytology screening and the hr-HPV DNA test. Recently prophylactic HPV vaccines are developed and, in some countries, already added to the National Immunization Program. Because the vaccine is so recently available a question raised: ‘Is it better to protect women from cervical cancer by HPV vaccination or by regular screening and good treatment?’. HPV vaccines show high efficacy for preventing HPV infections what reduces the cervical cancer incidence with 61.7%. But the vaccines also appear to have some harmful side-effects and the long-term effects of the vaccine are still unknown. Summarizing the results a conclusion can be formulated. First the HPV vaccination seems to be a good introduction to decrease the cervical cancer incidence. Second, the cervical cancer screening definitely should be proceeded. Screening is needed to find dysplasia induced by other HPV types and to catch the cases that not gain protection from the vaccination. As a result of the HPV vaccine a shift in screening methods will be established. More hr-HPV DNA test will be used. The combination of HPV vaccination and the hr-HPV screening test together will be decrease the cervical cancer incidence.

Year: 2010
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