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Risk Assessment to Guide the Prevention of Cervical Cancer

Castle, Philip E. PhD, MPH1; Sideri, Mario MD2; Jeronimo, Jose MD1; Solomon, Diane MD3; Schiffman, Mark MD, MPH1

Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease: January 2008 - Volume 12 - Issue 1 - p 1-7
doi: 10.1097/lgt.0b013e31815ea58b
Original Articles
Spanish Translation

Advances in screening and diagnosis make it increasingly possible to prevent cervical cancer. However, if misused or poorly understood, these new tools will only increase costs and potentially harm patients without benefit. As a framework for standardized care that maximizes patient safety and well-being, we propose that a risk model be adopted to guide clinical management now and in the future. The model would use thresholds of increasing risk for cervical precancer and treatable cancer to guide clinical decision making for screening intensity, diagnostic evaluation, or treatment. Experts would decide on these risk thresholds and stratum based on the patient risk to benefit, independent of current (e.g., cytology, carcinogenic human papillomavirus testing, and colposcopy) and future methods of measuring risk. A risk management model for cervical cancer prevention, based on appropriate clinical actions that correspond to risk stratum, can result in better allocation of resources to and increased safety for women at the greatest risk and increased well-being for women at the lowest risk.

A risk model for prevention of cervical cancer will provide the framework for clinical decision-making regarding current and future methods of screening and diagnosis.

1Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, and 3Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD, and 2The Preventive Gynecology Unit, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy

Reprint requests to: Philip E. Castle, PhD, MPH, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, 6120 Executive Blvd, Room 5004, MSC 7234, Bethesda, MD 20892-7234. E-mail:

This article was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, vol 197, Castle PE, Sideri M, Jeronimo J, Solomon D, Schiffman M, Risk assessment to guide the prevention of cervical cancer, pages 356.e1Y 356e, Copyright © Mosby, Inc., 2007.

©2008The American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology