Jaak Ph. Janssens
With poor cure rates in advanced cervical cancer, much more attention is given to early detection and prevention. This is certainly needed in developing countries. Earlier detection means nowadays also lesser mutilation from reduced surgery and more comfort after treatment. Early diagnosis of malignancy is traditionally based on clinical examination by an experienced physician and Pap-smear. But newer developments in molecular biology and the knowledge that cervical cancer is caused by HPV infection has led to the implementation of HPV detection kits. It is expected that HPV tests will gradually replace cytology in cervical cancer smears.
But the even better protection aims at avoiding the disease. Primary prevention through improved personal hygiene and vaccination of both males and females may not only eradicate cervical cancer but also a number of additional conditions with HPV origin. Vaccination is most probably going to be one of the greatest success stories of medicine in primary cancer prevention.