- Deborah Josefson
- San Francisco
Women may soon be able to take a vaccine to protect themselves against cervical cancer, one of the most common malignancies to affect women.
Cervical cancer affects over 400 000 women a year worldwide and results in the death of 200 000 of them. It is caused by infections with oncogenic strains of the human papillomavirus.
Human papillomavirus is sexually transmitted, and infections are common in both developing and developed countries. Up to 25% of sexually active young women in Canada and the United States are infected with it (Canadian Medical Association Journal 2000;163:503-8).
In non-industrialised countries, where cervical screening tests are rare, cervical cancer constitutes the most …