Early Cervical Neoplasia: Advances in Screening and Treatment Modalities

Abstract: Cervical cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer in women worldwide. However, improvements in screening programs and treatment modalities have significantly reduced the morbidity and mortality of this disease. The discovery that infection with the human papillomavirus is a crucial part of the causative pathway in cervical cancer pathogenesis has revolutionized screening and prompted investigations into alternatives to traditional cytologic evaluation, which may be useful in low-resource settings. Concomitant with improved screening has been a shift towards greater detection of both preinvasive and early-stage neoplastic disease. Earlier detection not only allows for surgical management of disease, with the avoidance of chemotherapy and radiation, but also the possibility of fertility preservation. As surgical technologies advance to encompass minimally-invasive procedures, interventions for early-stage cervical cancer are becoming increasingly effective in disease eradication while permitting patients to maintain their quality of life.