Co-Testing for Cervical Cancer is Best, But Not Perfect

Co-Testing for Cervical Cancer is Best, But Not Perfect

Co-Testing for Cervical Cancer is Best, But Not Perfect

According to the article, the study compared the HPV test with traditional Pap smear screening among 19,000 Canadian women over 4 years.

Pap smear tests are also referred as Pap test or smear test or cervical smear test, in which Pap smear is prepared by collecting cells from outer cervix opening of the uterus and endocervix.

Professor and Tier 1 Canada Research head, Dr. Gina Ogilvie said in a statement that, " There has been a significant body of evidence that shows that by including HPV testing - as co-testing with cytology - we could improve detection of precancerous lesions of the cervix".

The findings were published July 3 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Most medical groups have recommended that women in the United States get both the HPV test and the Pap smear, a practice called "co-testing", and many medical doctors are urging this practice continue, like Dr. Dena Grayson, who brought it up on Twitter.

A visit to the gynecologist for cervical cancer test is often an unpleasant necessity for women under 65.

"Most cases of cervical cancer happen in women who have not been regularly screened, or who have been screened, but don't have access to appropriate treatment", she says.

The researchers say the best way to prevent HPV is to receive the vaccine. Infection with HPV types targeted by the vaccine has declined by almost two-thirds among teenage girls since HPV vaccination was recommended in the United States, according to a study that also found that there was a decrease in HPV infections among women 20 to 24.

Pap smears involve scraping cells from the cervix and examining them for cancerous changes, also known as "cytology" testing.

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Even the most flawless tests can also be limited by the fact that not all women are receiving regular and timely screening.

Schmeler often works in Latin America where, in countries like El Salvador, cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women primarily due to poor screening programs.

Women who had a negative HPV test at the start of the study were much less likely to develop CIN3+ within 48 months than women who had a negative smear test at the start of the study. Two years later, the ones that tested negative after the Pap smear had another test of the same type.

Though the researchers also determined that adding cytology testing after a positive HPV screen detected very few new events, it wasn't totally fool-proof: by virtue of the trial design, women who were found to be HPV-negative also received cytology screening at 48 months - and an additional three grade 2 lesions were found among those participants.

Dr. Carol Mangione, a USPSTF task force member and UCLA professor of medicine says the method of testing comes second to being sure that all women, especially high-prevalence groups like black and Hispanic women, are able to get the testing they need. If the HPV test is negative, it gives more assurance that women will not develop precancer in the next four years.

But Mark Spitzer, a gynecologist in New Hyde Park, New York, and past president of the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, disagreed.

"This is one study", he said. "If you tested everyone for HPV in their 20s, they are nearly all going to be positive, but there's going to be all of this intervention that's not needed", she said. These conditions can be treated before they progress to cervical cancer. "Women who have a negative HPV test are significantly less likely to have a precancerous lesion 4 years down the road than those who had a negative Pap". But there were still no final guidelines issued on this and that's why the new study might be important in helping with the decision.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a DNA virus from the papillomavirus family.

"We really can't answer the question around whether co-testing is better than either alone". Partly because of that, he said, "we're a long way away from replacing the Pap smear".

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