The objective was to provide physicians and the general public with a responsible assessment of current screening, prevention, and treatment approaches to cervical cancer.
A non-Federal, nonadvocate, 13-member panel representing the fields of obstetrics and gynecology, gynecologic oncology, radiation oncology, and epidemiology participated. In addition, 28 experts in obstetrics and gynecology, gynecologic oncology, radiation oncology, gynecologic surgery, and psychology presented data to the panel and a conference audience of 500.
The literature was searched through Medline, and an extensive bibliography of references was provided to the panel and the conference audience. Experts prepared abstracts with relevant citations from the literature. Scientific evidence was given precedence over clinical anecdotal experience.
The panel, answering predefined questions, developed their conclusions based on the scientific evidence presented in open forum and the scientific literature. The panel composed a draft statement that was read in its entirety and circulated to the experts and the audience for comment. Thereafter, the panel resolved conflicting recommendations and released a revised statement at the end of the conference. The panel finalized the revisions within a few weeks after the conference.
Carcinoma of the cervix is causally related to infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). Reducing the rate of HPV infection by changes in sexual behaviors in young people and/or through the development of an effective HPV vaccine would reduce the incidence of this disease. Papanicolaou smear screening remains the best available method of reducing the incidence of and mortality from invasive cervical cancer. Persons with stage IA1 disease have a high cure rate with either simple hysterectomy or, where fertility preservation is an issue, by cone biopsy with clear margins. For patients with other stage I or stage IIA disease, radical surgery or radiation treatment is equally effective. These patients should be carefully selected to receive one treatment or the other but not both, because their combined use substantially increases the cost of and morbidity from treatment. Women with more advanced, nonmetastatic disease should be treated with radiation. Recurrent cervical cancer confined to the pelvis should be treated with the modality not previously received. Radiation therapy is recommended to palliate symptoms in patients with metastatic disease.