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  • Screening for cervical cancer: is there a place for incorporating tests for the human papillomavirus?

    3 July 2018

    Well organized screening programmes for cervical cancer, based on exfoliative cervical cytology, are known to be effective at reducing the incidence of invasive cervical cancer and mortality from the disease. HPV testing should not replace cervical cytology as the first-line approach in screening for cervical cancer, as HPV testing is not sufficiently reliable and some cancers are not associated with HPV infection. Even though there are many unanswered questions about the validity of HPV tests, it is timely to consider whether HPV testing might improve the management of the substantial number of women whose smears are neither clearly normal nor abnormal, but are described as atypical, suspicious or mildly dyskaryotic. The efficacy and costs of incorporating HPV testing into a cervical cancer screening programme need to be evaluated in controlled trials.

  • Sex hormones and cancer.

    3 July 2018

    There are few instances in which a clear effect of hormones on cancer risk is known and in which the effects of those hormones on the cells concerned are also known. The best examples are the relationships between sex hormones and cancer in women. The effects of sex hormones both on the risk for endometrial cancer and on the cells of the endometrium are well understood, and the evidence strongly suggests that hormones act by altering the rate of cell division. The same mechanism may explain the relationships between sex hormones and the risk for breast cancer, but our understanding of cancers at this site is incomplete. Less still is known about the mechanisms of the effects of sex hormones on other hormone-related cancers, such as those of the ovary and cervix. Most sex hormones are not genotoxic.

  • Epidemiology of Kaposi's sarcoma.

    3 July 2018

    The AIDS epidemic drew attention to KS, a previously rare and little studied condition. The epidemiological evidence summarized here strongly suggests that the disease is caused by a transmissible agent, in addition to HIV. Sexual contact is the most important mode of transmission of the agent, although transmission by blood and perinatally may also occur (Beral et al, 1990).