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The real value of the research may prove to be showing experts a more
precise model of how cervical cancer develops, says Margaret Madeleine, PhD, an
assistant member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and research
assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington School of
Public Health in Seattle, who reviewed the findings for WebMD.
''There may be more interest in it as a model of how cervical cancer might
develop in the presence of birth control pills or [multiple pregnancies], both
known risk factors [in HPV-positive women]," she says.
Ernest Han, MD, PhD, gynecologic oncologist and assistant professor at the
City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif., calls the research
finding an interesting concept.
Overall, he says, ''our detection [of cervical cancer] is pretty good.''
Pap tests look for cervical cell changes caused by HPV so the cancer can
be detected early. However, "treatment for advanced cancer and for patients who
have recurrences is poor," he says.
The study, however, has limitations, Han says. It was small. It would be ''a
leap" to say this may soon be a treatment for cervical cancer. ''We'd
have to see more definitive studies."