Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer and the third cause of death among women worldwide. More than 85% of the cases occur in developing countries. In Latin America, cervical cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths among women, primarily in young women with devastating social impact. It is mostly the consequence of lack of a health care infrastructure that allows cervical cancer screening suitable for detecting pre-malignant lesions. With the knowledge that human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the main cause of cervical cancer, two major preventive interventions have emerged: HPV vaccination and screening, which involve the detection and treatment of cervical dysplasia and early-stage cervical cancer. HPV 16 and 18 cause up to 70% of all cervical cancer cases in Latin America and are covered in all available vaccines. Since tests for high-risk HPV types and HPV vaccines are expensive and they have not been included in immunization programs and given free of charge to eligible women in Venezuela and most less developed regions, screening campaigns with cytology and direct visualization of the cervix with VIN continue to be the major interventions that can prevent cervical cancer in these countries; they need to be implemented in a large scale.
Part of the book: Cervical Cancer