Why is early detection of cervical cancer so important?
Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women world-wide. If cervical cancer is caught at its earliest stage the chance of survival is about 93% and it goes down to 15% for the latest stages.
Current diagnostic methods, which include cytological screening, HPV testing and liquid biopsy led to a decline in cervical cancer but many cases are still missed. Cancer trends have risen even in countries that have high-quality cervical screening programs (Flores & Marrero, 2014). HPV screening as well as evidence of low grade premalignant changes in cytology are not sufficient to indicate malignant transformation. Robust markers are needed to detect early malignant transformation.
The main challenge is that at an early stage only few malignant cells might be hiding in the cervix as cancer evolves long before they exhibit clear cytological and clinical symptoms.