Cervical Cancer Prevention
By Norma Erickson
On 17 Sept 2013, the following headline appeared in the UK Daily Mail, “Grandmother, 55, died from cervical cancer after her GP dismissed her symptoms as the MENOPAUSE.” The article, written by Anna Hodgekiss explains the circumstances surrounding the tragedy. This woman knew something was wrong, visited her doctor multiple times and had her symptoms blamed on age (menopause) instead of being run through normal diagnostic procedures which would have detected her cancer when it was still curable.
Women like this are the unfortunate victims of the HPV industry created by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the United States. In this day and age, no woman living in a developed country should ever die from cervical cancer.
Dr. Mark Schiffman, a senior officer and policy maker from the NCI, stated in 2010 that the measures for cervical cancer prevention will include:
“…prophylactic vaccination of adolescents against carcinogenic HPV infections, an increased role for HPV testing, improvements to colposcopy to increase sensitivity, and reductions in the number of lifetime screens needed for prevention.”
Based on numerous policy-making statements like this one, which was published in the official journal of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists , regular Pap smear as a proven means for early cervical cancer detection has been decreasingly recommended, and a highly promoted HPV Digene HC2 test is performed as a cancer screen substitute , but is known to generate considerable false-negative results. [3, 4]
The above preventive measures, namely HPV vaccination, the unreliable Digene HC2 test, improvements to colposcopy (a procedure usually performed after a positive Pap cytology), and reductions of screens would not have helped this woman.
What would have most likely prevented her untimely death? A reliable HPV detection method that included genotyping and regular Pap smears. However, policy makers at the NCI have not made these options readily available to medical consumers. Policy makers have left women with no choice but to educate themselves, demand the reliable test procedures they need and refuse those options which provide little benefit and substantial risk.
In 2010, the NCI sent $13.5 Million of our tax money to a Dutch laboratory to perform “reliable” genotyping of HPV using a PCR system with short target sequencing on a total of 375 cervical biopsy samples. 
Why did Dr. Schiffman not recommend the same kind of HPV testing for women’s health care in America when he was making the policy of “an increased role for HPV testing” on behalf of the NCI in 2010?
Women must stop allowing themselves to be manipulated by the news media and industry-paid consultants, whether they are in the government or the academic world.
You have a choice – medical consumer or medical subject?
- Schiffman M, Wentzensen N. From human papillomavirus to cervical cancer. Obstet Gynecol. 2010; 116:177-85.
- Castle PE, Lorincz AT, Scott DR, Sherman ME, Glass AG, Rush BB, Wacholder S, Burk RD, Manos MM, Schuster JE, Macomber P, Schiffman M. Comparison between prototype hybrid capture 3 and hybrid capture 2 human papillomavirus DNA assays for detection of high‐grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia and cancer. J Clin Microbiol. 2003; 41:4022‐30.
- Jastania R, Geddie WR, Chapman W, Boerner S. Characteristics of apparently false-negative digene hybrid capture 2 high-risk HPV DNA testing. Am J Clin Pathol. 2006;125:223-8.
- Ge S, Gong B, Cai X, Yang X, Gan X, Tong X, Li H, Zhu M, Yang F, Zhou H, Hong G. Prevent cervical cancer by screening with reliable human papillomavirus detection and genotyping. Cancer Med. 2012;1:59-67.