Epidemiology and Early Detection of Cervical Cancer

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The new German S3 guideline ‘Prevention of Cervical Cancer' published in 2016 is based on the latest available evidence about cervical cancer screening and treatment of cervical precancer. Large randomized controlled trials indicate that human papillomavirus (HPV)-based screening may provide better protection against cervical cancer than cytology alone through improved detection of premalignant disease in the first screening round prior to progression. Therefore, women aged 30 years and older should preferably be screened with HPV testing every 3-5 years (cytology alone every 2 years is an acceptable alternative). Co-testing is not recommended. Screening should start at 25 years using cytology alone every 2 years. The preferred triage test after a positive HPV screening test is cytology. Women positive for HPV 16 and HPV 18 should receive immediate colposcopy. Another alternative triage method is p16/Ki-67 dual stain cytology. The mean yearly participation rate in Germany is between 45 and 50%. Offering devices for HPV self-sampling has the potential to increase participation rates in those women who are at higher risk of developing cervical cancer. Regarding primary prevention, the 9-valent vaccine may provide protection against up to 85% of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) 3 and 90% of cervical cancer, and is available in Europe as a 2-dose schedule from May 2016.

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