How to Test, Prevent, Screen and Treat Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer has a single known causative agent- the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). A great deal of research has been done on HPV, and it is now known which of the HPV DNA subtypes are the most deadly. There is a highly effective vaccine that prevents the majority of cervical cancers before they begin. Furthermore, cervical cancer takes years to develop and there is a pre-cancer stage that can be easily identified and treated. Armed with this knowledge, the eradication of cervical cancer becomes a truly viable goal because it can be attacked at several different phases of its life cycle.
• PRIMARY PREVENTION: The current HPV vaccine immunizes against the 2 subtypes of HPV that are 70% responsible for cervical cancer worldwide. Research and development of a vaccine that immunizes against even more of the high risk HPV subtypes is on-going and once available, will offer even better protection.
• SECONDARY PREVENTION: HPV typically takes 10-15 years from the time of exposure to the time of invasive disease. This allows a large window of time for women to be screened and treated before the disease becomes too advanced. Enabling women around the world to have access to low-cost methods of screening and treatment is a challenge on which Basic Health International is working.