The National Cancer Institute estimated that in 2012, that 12,170 women will be diagnosed with new cases of cervical cancer in the United States. A slow growing cancer, cervical cancer may not cause symptoms.
The cancer can be found with a Pap smear, a test used during routine gynecological examinations in which cell samples are taken from the cervix and examined.
Almost all cervical cancer cases are caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which is a sexually transmitted disease. About 70 percent of cervical cancer cases are caused by HPV types 16 and 18, according to the National Cancer Institute.
One way women can protect themselves from developing HPV-related cervical cancer is by getting the HPV vaccine. Two HPV vaccines are currently on the market -- Cervarix and Gardasil.
Cervarix, which is only approved for women, vaccinates against HPV types 16 and 18. Gardasil vaccinates against HPV types 16 and 18, as well as HPV types 6 and 11, which cause 90 percent of genital warts cases, noted the National Cancer Institute. Gardasil is approved for both women and men.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that the HPV vaccines are most effective when given to individuals at age 11 or 12.
The purpose is to give the vaccine before the individual becomes sexually active and is at risk for coming into contact with the virus. But new research showed that the vaccine has benefits for women who have been diagnosed with pre-cancerous cervical conditions.
A press release from the British Medical Journal stated that “previous studies have shown that HPV vaccination does not reduce progression to cervical pre-cancers in women with ongoing infections at the time of vaccination.
However, no studies to date have looked at the impact of HPV vaccination in preventing subsequent disease after treatment for such pre-cancers. This new study aimed to see if the vaccine decreased the risk of developing subsequent disease after the first definitive treatment.”
This international study included 1,350 young women who resided in 24 developed and developing countries.