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    New Tool May Accurately Predict Cervical Cancer Risk

    Tool may offer an easy way to calculate patient's short-term risk of precancerous conditions

    THURSDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- A new tool for assessing cervical cancer risk may offer clinicians a simpler method for making treatment decisions than commonly used management algorithms, according to an article published online Sept. 20 in The Lancet Oncology.

    Hormuzd A. Katki, M.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues are developing a tool that uses cervical precancer, best defined as a histological cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 or higher (and less precisely defined as a grade 2 or higher), as a common treatment threshold.

    The authors write that the new tool -- a preliminary version of which is expected to be available in 2010 -- will allow clinicians to use their personal digital assistants or computer to calculate a woman's current, one-year, three-year, and five-year risk of developing cervical precancer based on the patient's age, current test results, and available past test results. For example, it might show that a 33-year-old woman with persistent human papillomavirus-16, high-grade cytology, and high-grade colposcopic impression has a five-year risk exceeding 80 percent, suggesting the surgery to remove lesions might be necessary even in the absence of biopsy confirmation.

    "Unlike all other cancers, cervical precancer is predictable with unprecedented accuracy and power because we can test for its necessary cause (human papillomavirus), a precancerous lesion has been defined (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3+), and we can readily access the cervix for screening and effective treatment," the authors conclude. "As a result, more is known about the natural history of cervical lesions than any other cancer, and a risk tool can exploit this knowledge."

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