What’s New in Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment?

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With an improved HPV vaccine, new treatment options, and clinical trials that continue to look for a cure, we're seeing exciting inroads in the fight against cervical cancer. Learn how these advancements could impact you and your family.

Vaccine Improvement

The 9-valent vaccine was approved in 2014 for use in girls and boys age 9-26 to prevent the human papillomavirus (HPV). An improvement over the 4-valent vaccine, this vaccine covers more strains of HPV which can cause cervical dysplasia and cancer. It has the potential to reduce dysplasia and cancer by more than 99%. In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) approved the vaccine for adults up to age 45 after discussion with their physician.  

Surgical Advancements

Recent clinical trials have focused on surgical management of cervical cancer. The standard surgery for cervical cancer currently involves a radical hysterectomy, where the tissue surrounding the cervix is removed. A clinical trial examined an open surgery compared to minimally invasive surgery, and found that open surgery was better than minimally invasive surgery for cervical cancer specifically. An open radical hysterectomy has been established as the standard of care for patients with cervical cancer who are able to have surgery. Continued trials are focusing on preserving the ability to have children and reducing complications from this procedure. More to come!

New Treatment Options

Several clinical trials are exploring the addition of chemotherapy to radiation for treatment of advanced cervical cancer. Additional chemotherapy agents are being added to current treatments to improve survival and reduce the risk of recurrence. These trials have shown some promise and we look forward to the results. Less toxic chemotherapy regimens are also being explored.

Treatments that target specific aspects of cancer cells have been a focus in cervical cancer research as well. The addition of bevacizumab (Avastin) to chemotherapy has improved the survival for women with advanced or metastatic cervical cancer. New immunotherapy treatments, including activated T-cells (that can recognize and kill cancer cells), therapeutic vaccines, and immune checkpoint inhibitors, have shown promise. Pemborlizumab (Keytruda) was recently approved for the treatment of metastatic or recurrent cervical cancer that expresses certain immune markers.  

Clinical Trials Help Lead to Cures

Researchers across the country and the world are actively looking for better treatments and cures for cervical cancer. In order to find new treatments, clinical trials are needed. Sometimes a clinical trial may be right for you. Ask your doctor about any trials that you may be eligible for. It may not only help you, but help other women in Pennsylvania, in the U.S., and in the world.

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Erin E Medlin MD

Erin E. Medlin, MD, is a gynecologic oncology specialist with LG Health Physicians Gynecologic Oncology.

Education: Undergraduate–The Ohio State University; Medical School—University of Cincinnati College of Medicine; Internship and Residency—University of Colorado School of Medicine; Fellowship—University of Wisconsin.

Call: 717-544-3600

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