Human papillomaviruses: The cervical cancer saga in developing countries
Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer affecting women, with worldwide annual incidence and mortality rates of 528,000 and 266,000, respectively, according to the World Health Organization. It is well established that cervical cancer is predominantly caused by a persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection of cervical cells. Increasing numbers of studies have investigated HPV and cervical cancer, contributing greatly to the global knowledge and unraveling some of the critical questions regarding HPV transmission, infection, and prevention. However, despite these studies, our knowledge is far from complete and much remains to be discovered. Although molecular detection and HPV prophylactic approaches have greatly advanced in recent years, approximately 85% of the global burden of mortality from cervical cancer still occurs in developing countries. Clinical and molecular epidemiological studies have demonstrated a need for developing countries in general to adopt cervical screening and vaccination programs. However, studies examining cervical cancer screening modalities and HPV prevalence as well as whether HPV vaccination programs should be implemented are lacking at the national level in some developing countries. Therefore, this review describes the current status of HPV in developing countries, presenting some of the existing challenges in implementing cervical screening and HPV vaccination programs.
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