Study shows a better method to test for cervical cancer than Pap smear

Until now the tests for cervical cancer have involved an unpleasant need of Pap smear. For this, the doctors usually scrap the cells of the posterior part of a woman’s cervix that are then visually scrutinized for any abnormality condition.

A new study conducted by a team of researchers has revealed a yet simpler method to examine any condition of cervical cancer. This method involves the direct analysis of the papillomavirus or HPV of the human that results in ninety-nine percent of the cervical cancers. According to the study, this method is recommended for the women aged thirty and above.

The initial HPV test that examines cervical and vaginal secretions for the existence of HPV, was approved by the FDA in the year 2014.

As a part of this recent study known as HPV FOCAL trial, the HPV test was compared to the conventional Pap smear examination among nineteen thousand women in Canada over 4 years. The study inferred that HPV testing could be comparatively much more accurate. Gynecologic oncologist Dr. Kathleen Schmeler at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, said in a statement, “In our world, this study is going to be a pretty big deal, in a good way.”

At the beginning of this HPV FOCAL trial, half of the women obtained HPV testing and the other half received Pap smear. The women in the second group received another Pap after 2 years. The two groups were again tested with both the methods post of 4 years.

None of the methods yielded fully accurate results. In both the groups, the final co-testing discovered more abnormal cells within some of the women who initially tested negative. The women who actually received Pap smear showed twice more chances of having abnormal cells. Out of the subjects who examined negative in the HPV test, just twenty-two had abnormal cells, whereas out of those who tested negative in the Pap smear, fifty-two women had abnormal cells.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Gina Ogilvie, said in a statement, “What our study shows is that by using HPV testing, we detect precancerous lesions earlier.” Further, Ogilvie added, “If women have a negative HPV test, they are significantly less likely to have a precancerous lesion four years later, meaning we can extend screening time.”

The findings of this new study have been published in the JAMA on Tuesday 3rd July.

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