Human Papillomavirus and Cervical Cancer

2944 Words Apr 9th, 2005 12 Pages
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 …show more content…
Treatment for stage I cervical cancer is a simple hysterectomy, unless the cancer is more than 3 mm or has invaded the blood vessels or lymph vessels, in which case a radical hysterectomy may be needed. Radiation therapy may be used post-op if the cancer cells extend to the edges of the organs that were removed. Recent clinical trials show that a combination of radiation and cisplatin can be more effective than radiation therapy alone . Stage II cancer occurs when the tumor(s) have extended beyond the cervix, but not as far as the pelvic wall. Stage II is also classified into two separate subdivisions. Stage IIA is when the cancer has extended to the upper portion of the vagina, but not as far as the surrounding tissue, or parametria. Stage IIB occurs when the cancer extends to the parametrial tissues, but not as far as the pelvic wall. One treatment option for Stage II cervical cancer is high-dose internal and external radiation therapy. As with Stage I treatment, radiation therapy in conjunction with medication can prove more effective than with radiation therapy alone. A second treatment option is radical hysterectomy with selective para-aortic and radical bilateral (both sides) pelvic lymph node dissection. Stage III entails the cancer moving beyond the parametrial tissues, but not into the pelvic area. As with Stage I and II, stage III is also classified into two separate subdivisions. Stage IIIA indicates that the