A new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, published by Oxford University Press, indicates that high-quality cervical cancer screening can be done effectively using a completely automated approach. The researchers involved in the study indicate that automated technology could increase cervical screening coverage in underserved regions.
Cervical cancer is caused by persistent infection with carcinogenic human papillomaviruses (HPV). HPV vaccination to control transmission is the ultimate prevention strategy; however, vaccination remains a long-term solution due to still-limited coverage and the long latency between infection and cancer development
The main goal of cervical screening is to detect potentially premalignant conditions, which can be treated to prevent cervical cancer. Cervical screening programs include two procedures: screening of the general population and the separation of screen-positive women to focus treatment on potentially premalignant conditions. For the general screening phase, HPV testing for the carcinogenic types of HPV is gradually replacing cytology (Pap testing), because HPV testing is more sensitive for detection of precancer malignancies. It is also more reproducible and adaptable to increasingly HPV-vaccinated populations.
The leading treatment strategy in higher-resource regions combines partial HPV typing (to identify the highest-risk types) and Pap tests (used in this case as
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