Preventing Cervical Cancer

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For many years now, secondary prevention measures have been applied to cervical cancer consisting of gynaecological check-ups and a cervical smear or Papanicolaou test (Pap smear test). This simple examination can detect the presence of abnormal cells or precursor or precancerous lesions in the cervix. Women with these lesions are indicated a procedure to remove the affected tissue (cervical conisation).

For over a decade now, primary prevention of cervical cancer has been implemented by the administration of HPV vaccinations (HPV is a prerequisite for developing CC). The vaccinations include protection against the two most common types of HPV (16 and 18) which are responsible for over 70% of all cases of CC. A nonavalent vaccine has recently been marketed that protects against nine types of HPV involved in precancerous lesions and cancer, thus providing a protection of around 90%.

Measures that block the transmission of HPV (e.g. using condoms), favour its elimination or inhibit its persistence (not smoking or limiting the long-term use of oral contraceptives) also help reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer.

What age is the HPV vaccine recommended?

Substantiated information by:

Aureli Torné Bladé
Lydia Gaba
María Jesús Sánchez
Àngels Rovirosa

Published: 21 February 2020
Updated: 21 February 2020

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