Policy ForumCANCER

Preventing Cervical Cancer

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Science  09 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5472, pp. 1753-1755
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5472.1753

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The Pap smear has been the classic screening strategy for preventing cervical cancer for 50 years. The finding that infection with human papillomavirus is associated with an increased risk of cervical cancer has prompted the development of new strategies for cervical cancer screening and prevention. In their Policy Forum, Cain and Howett discuss the introduction of HPV testing, anti-HPV microbicidal agents and vaccination against HPV. They point out the benefits but also the potential for over and under treatment and the need for considerable improvements in public education.