New cervical cancer test
NEW YORK - A relatively new screening test was about twice as accurate as the traditional Pap smear at spotting cervical cancer, according to the first rigorous study of the test in North America. The new test could replace the 50-year-old Pap in a matter of years, experts say. And there's a bonus for women: They won't need a screening test as often.This is good news for women. Two obeservations.
The HPV test, which looks for the virus that causes cervical cancer, correctly spotted 95 percent of the cancers. The Pap test, which checks for abnormal cells under a microscope, only found 55 percent, according to researchers at McGill University in Montreal, who published their findings in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.
"We've had the Pap test for over 50 years and it's high time it be replaced by technology that's more robust," said Eduardo Franco, director of McGill's division of cancer epidemiology, who led the study.
Franco said some feared the HPV test would result in more false alarms, causing anxiety and requiring more follow-up testing. In the study, there were only slightly more false positives for the HPV tests (6 percent) than the Pap smears (3 percent).
HPV, or human papilloma virus, is a common sexually transmitted disease. Infections are mostly in young women and most go away on their own. The HPV test looks for the high-risk viruses that can cause cervical cancer if the infection persists. Like the Pap, it uses cells scraped from the cervix, the lower part of the uterus.
1- This new test while more accurate, would best be done yearly like other cancer screenings.(Prostate, mammogram, etc)
2- Gardasil, the cervical cancer vaccine, isn't a cure all. My trouble with the vaccine, is the way the media by distortion(Oh Randy Schultz. When is the Post going to editorialize on this news? TFM will not be holding his breath) and politicians through ignorance or for political purposes, made the vaccine out to be a sure fire remedy that would replace other testing for cervical cancer. Gardasil isn't supposed to do that, but used in conjunction with.
Bottom line- All of the above is good news so far as women's health is concerned.
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