Cervical Cancer in Developing Countries: Effective Screening and Preventive Strategies
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The purpose of this paper is to examine cervical cancer screening methods available in developing countries, and to discuss alternative effective methods of screening. Cervical cancer is a preventable and curable disease. However, it continues to threaten the lives of women today. Annual world incidence is an estimated 529,000 and mortality is 275,000. Eighty- five percent of cases and the majority of deaths due to cervical cancer occur in developing countries. Cytology via Papanicolaou (Pap) smear, the golden standard method of screening over the past decades, is not generally a suitable method of screening in low-resource regions. The implementation and sustainability of Pap smear programs have not yet been possible in those countries. Alternative methods have been developed and tested for low-resource countries, including visual inspection by acetic acid (VIA), HPV-DNA, and careHPV-DNA. These screening methods, along with the preventive vaccine, have a greater potential for decreasing the incidence of cervical cancer in developing countries. Nurses play a vital role in educating both health care providers and women in developing countries about the importance of preventive immunization and cervical cancer screening.