Screening for gynecological cancers
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An estimated 17% of all new cancers in women worldwide are due to cancers of the cervix, the ovary and the uterus. Together, these cancers account for 14.6% of all female cancer deaths. This is a significant societal and economic burden, which can be limited through cancer screening. In the developed world, marked reductions of 50-90% in disease rates have been observed as a result of cervical cancer screening. By contrast, in developing countries, where more than 85% of all new cases and deaths from this cancer are reported, significant challenges need to be overcome. Although cytology remains a key component of cervical screening, the newer molecular tests offer a more targeted, risk-attuned approach. The situation for the other two gynecological cancers is different. The case for ovarian cancer screening has yet to be made with the results of key screening trials in high-and low-risk populations still pending. Screening for endometrial cancer is traditionally not advocated as women become symptomatic during the earlier, treatable stages of disease. However, consideration of screening options for these two cancers is warranted since endometrial cancer rates are on the increase and in ovarian cancer, the high case:fatality ratio remains unchanged. © 2013 Expert Reviews Ltd.