Human Papillomavirus and Cervical Cancer

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  • Topic: Cervical cancer, Cancer, Hysterectomy
  • Pages : 8 (2954 words )
  • Download(s) : 450
  • Published : April 19, 2005
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Cervical cancer is the second foremost occurring cancer in women after breast cancer. Cervical cancer is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV. Infection by HPV typically occurs in the early years of sexual activity according to the World Health Organization (WHO), but it can take up to a full twenty years for it to develop into a full-blown malignant tumor. Scientists believe that for all intents and purposes all cervical cancer cases are caused by infection with a few types of cancer. Great strides have been made in recent years in the development of a vaccine to treat the cervical cancer. Scientists have cultivated a prophylactic vaccine that would protect against the human papillomavirus. HPV's role in generating cervical cancer was discovered in 1983. The WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), located in Lyon, France, has been in the forefront in epidemiological and laboratory studies needed to comprehend the disease. The IARC have chosen different methods, but the origins of most of them are based on genetically engineered Virus Like Particles (VLPs), composed of the outer structural proteins of HPV. These VLPs are not infectious or carcinogenic because they contain no DNA. Some factions are trying to produce the prophylactic vaccine alluded to earlier, while others are developing a therapeutic vaccine for individuals who are already infected. Still others are merging the two techniques. All of approaches have been presented with huge obstacles. Human papillomavirus cannot be replicated in cell culture, nor can it be transmitted to other animals, and human experimentation is limited given the carcinogenic nature of carcinogenic HPV's that are entirely infectious. All attendees that participated at the WHO conference agreed that because of the diverse dynamic that are potentially at risk of cervical cancer that it is crucial that a prophylactic vaccine be made to targeted at a younger population that has yet to become sexually active. The WHO also found it important that any vaccine would have to include representative people to guarantee international importance. According to researcher Luisa Lina Villa of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Sao Paulo, a potential vaccine would decrease the number of cases in developing countries . There is large discrepancy between developed countries and third world nations, due in large part to the availability of screening and treatment facilities found in industrialized countries. The percentage of cervical cancer in women triggered by HPV ranges from 3% to 5% in North America and Western Europe, while in South America, Southwest Asia, and the sub-Saharan African nations it ranges from 20% to 24%. Cervical cancer occurs in women in four stages, as well as a "pre-cancer", or "pre-malignant" stage, where abnormal cells are in the surface layer of the cervix and have not penetrated deeper tissues. This is also called "in situ", which literally means "in place". For gynecologic cancers, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) system is the most widely used and highly regarded system of determining the various stages because it is both accepted internationally and supports an international standard where healthcare professionals can converse with one another when comparing their respective research, thereby ensuring a type of universal language on the subject of gynecological cancer, according to Laura Dolson's Gynecologic Cancer Resource Center. This system involves assigning a numerical stage (0 through IV) to a patient's cancer based on physical examination and other diagnostic exams, such as cystoscopy or proctoscopy. Stage I is classified into two separate subdivisions. Stage IA involves the invasion of the cervical tissues, and can be seen with only a microscope. Stage IB is when the lesions have developed wider than 7 mm or deeper than 5 mm, or at any size that can be detected without...
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