Cervical cancer and human papillomavirus
Screening and vaccination fight a largely preventable disease
- By: Rebecca Jones, Alison Fiander
In 2002 Jade Goody appeared on the reality television show Big Brother and became one of the most famous, outspoken, and controversial British celebrities almost overnight. In March 2009 she died at the age of 27 from cervical cancer, which claims about three women’s lives every day in the United Kingdom. Her plight was covered widely in the media, raising public awareness of this largely preventable malignancy and promoting uptake of the screening smear.
In the United Kingdom about 2800 women every year are diagnosed as having cervical cancer, and it is the second most common malignancy in women worldwide.12 Eighty per cent of the world’s cervical malignancies occur in developing countries.32 Cervical cancer has peak prevalence in 30-40 year olds and is an important cause of early loss of life.32 The cause of cervical cancer is infection with human papillomavirus (HPV), which is asymptomatic. Primary prevention of cervical cancer