A persistent infection with an oncogenic HPV type is today considered a causal factor for the occurrences of cervical cancer. A number of cofactors have been identified as possible modifiers of HPV during the development of cervical cancer, including tobacco smoking, multiparity, OC use, and Chlamydia trachomatis infection. Because many of these factors are strongly correlated with HPV infection, it has been difficult to characterize their role in the development and progression of cervical neoplasia, as well as in the acquisition and persistence of HPV infection. Host immune control of the infection, including factors that would affect it, also may be important in HPV-induced carcinogenesis. Through a combination of public education about transmission of HPV, early detection of precursor lesions to cervical carcinoma by regular cytological screening with the incorporation of HPV testing and vaccination against certain high-risk types of HPV, carcinoma of the cervix may become one of the major forms of cancer that is most preventable on a global scale.
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