Cervical Cancer Prevention in Low-Resource Settings
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OBJECTIVE: To help care providers understand the current status of cervical cancer in low-resource countries. OPTIONS: The most effective and practical options for cervical screening and treatment in low-resource countries are evaluated. OUTCOMES: Improvement in rates of prevention and early detection of cervical cancer in low-resource countries. EVIDENCE: PubMed or Medline, CINAHL, and The Cochrane Library were searched for studies published in English between January 2006 and December 2009. Results were restricted to systematic reviews, randomized control trials/controlled clinical trials, and observational studies. Grey (unpublished) literature was identified through searching the websites of health technology assessment and health technology assessment-related agencies, clinical practice guideline collections, clinical trial registries, and national and international medical specialty societies. VALUES: The quality of evidence was rated using the criteria described in the Report of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care. Recommendations for practice were ranked according to the method described in that report (Table). RECOMMENDATIONS 1. All girls 9 years old or over should have access to the cervical cancer vaccine before they become sexually active. (I-A) 2. Cervical cancer screening by visual inspection with acetic acid is suggested for low-resource settings acceptable. Cervical cytology or human papillomavirus testing may also be used when practical. (II-2B) 3. Cryotherapy is a safe, effective, and low-cost therapy that should be included in pre-invasive cervical cancer treatment. (III-B) 4. All countries should have a documented cervical cancer prevention strategy that includes public education built on existing outreach programs. (III-C) 5. Countries should define a centre or centres of excellence for the management of cervical cancer. (III-C) Because these units would serve a larger population, they would be able to identify leaders and develop their skills, and would be able to invest in costly radiation equipment. 6. All women with cervical cancer should have access to pain management. (III-C).
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