European Journal of Gynaecological Oncology (EJGO) is published by IMR Press from Volume 40 Issue 1 (2019). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with S.O.G.
Strategies for the modification of risk factors in gynecological cancers
Strategies to modify risk for female or gynecological cancers will vary with our knowledge of the epidemiology, etiology, and specific molecular mechanisms for each individual cancer. In general, cancer preventive strategies have been divided into primary and secondary prevention with primary prevention directed toward the causative factors for a disease. Secondary prevention is classically used in cervical cancer cytology screening programs and is essentially an attempt to identify individuals in a population with preclinical phases of the disease where intervention will impact mortality the most. A vast literature has evolved regarding the epidemiology of most of the common cancers in women. While the specific molecular mechanisms are not completely understood at this time knowledge of contributing factors for many of these tumors is well known. The association of cigarette smoking with lung cancer has been well established and the increasing rates of lung cancer, particularly in women, are directly linked to the increasing number of female smokers in the population. Indeed in many western countries lung cancer deaths have overtaken breast cancer as the most common cause of death from malignant disease in women. Excessive sun exposure without adequate skin protection is another lifestyle activity that is related to the high incidence of skin cancer in certain areas. Epidemiologically, cervical cancer has been studied extensively with the current data indicating a causal role of exposure to human papillomavirus (HPV), particularly at an early age in this disease. Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndromes are well understood and as more information on human genomics becomes available a clear understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms of these diseases will be possible and hopefully will result in effective strategies for their control. Unfortunately, in spite of the vast knowledge that is available regarding risk factors for many of these malignancies we have been unable to influence effective lifestyle changes that could substantially reduce the risk of these malignancies in our population. Increased efforts in education, research, and commitment - both financial and educational - are required by governments and other social organizations.