Vaginal cancer secondary prevention

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [2] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Syed Musadiq Ali M.B.B.S.[3]

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There is no validated secondary prevention for HPV-associated vaginal cancer beyond the Pap smear at the cervix.


  • The relationship between the human papillomavirus (HPV) and malignancies of the uterine cervix, vagina, and vulva has been established. The prevalence of oncogenic HPV subtypes in cervical cancers has been the most studied, but prevalence has also been established for vaginal and vulvar cancers[1][2].
  • The widespread introduction of the Papanicolaou test, or pap smear for cervical cancer screening has been credited with dramatically reducing the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer in developed countries.[1][3] The pap smear suggests the presence of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (premalignant changes in the cervix) before a cancer has developed, allowing for further workup. Recommendations for how often a Pap smear should be done vary from once a year to once every five years.
  • The American Cancer Society recommends that cervical cancer screening should begin approximately three years after the onset of vaginal intercourse and/or no later than twenty-one years of age.[4] If premalignant disease or cervical cancer is detected early, it can be treated relatively noninvasively, and without impairing fertility[5].


  1. 1.0 1.1 Sanders GD, Taira AV (January 2003). "Cost-effectiveness of a potential vaccine for human papillomavirus". Emerging Infect. Dis. 9 (1): 37–48. doi:10.3201/eid0901.020168. PMC 2873748. PMID 12533280.
  2. Diaz ML (August 2010). "Prevention of cervical, vaginal, and vulval cancers: role of the quadrivalent human papillomavirus (6, 11, 16, 18) recombinant vaccine". Int J Womens Health. 1: 119–29. PMC 2971720. PMID 21072282.
  3. [1]
  4. Saslow D, Runowicz CD, Solomon D; et al. (2002). "American Cancer Society guideline for the early detection of cervical neoplasia and cancer". CA: a cancer journal for clinicians. 52 (6): 342–62. PMID 12469763.
  5. Goldie SJ, Kohli M, Grima D, Weinstein MC, Wright TC, Bosch FX, Franco E (April 2004). "Projected clinical benefits and cost-effectiveness of a human papillomavirus 16/18 vaccine". J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 96 (8): 604–15. PMID 15100338.