The conventional test has been largely replaced by a liquid-based Pap cytology test.
For women between the ages of 30 and 65 who are at risk of contracting human papillomavirus, a promising test might be an alternative to the dreaded Pap smear.
In the first round of screening at the start of the study, more cases of CIN3+ were found in women who had HPV tests (7 per 1,000 women) than women who had smear tests (4.4 per 1,000 women). The randomized, controlled study-the Washington Post calls it the "gold standard" of research-looked at 19,000 women over a period of 10 years.
Because the HPV vaccine that is recommended for adolescents is still limited in its use, testing for the presence of the HPV virus, in general, will continue to be a crucial part of cervical cancer prevention.
Because health care is a provincial responsibility, it's up to the individual provinces and territories to decide whether to adopt HPV testing instead of Pap testing for cervical cancer screening. According to the article, the researchers surveyed 5080 women treated for early-stage breast cancer by 377 surgeons in Georgia and Los Angeles between 2013 and 2015. They could also get a Pap test every three years.
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A test for HPV detects precancerous changes of the cervix earlier and more accurately than the Pap smear, according to a large clinical trial published Tuesday.
They also cautioned that more work needs to be done to assess the economic consequences of changing the screening model. The final round of cotesting found additional abnormal cells in some women who originally tested negative in both groups.
In most provinces, Pap tests are recommended every three years. "This has been building for decades", he said, adding that the Pap smear is "crude and inaccurate" while the HPV test is much more precise, operates on the molecular level and can provide information on the specific type of HPV causing the problem. Dr Kathleen Schmeler, a gynaecologic oncologist at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center said, "The bottom line is that it could really potentially simplify how we screen women and have it been more effective and not quite as complicated and burdensome - and opens the door for doing just HPV testing which is actually what's now recommended by the World Health Organisation for countries that don't have Pap testing capabilities". She 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.
At present, as per the screening guidelines from the draft issued last fall by USPSTF, the tests supposed to be taken for every 5 years for HPV tests and 3 years for pap smear. "Even if we could magically vaccinate 100 percent today, it would take 30 years for them to reach the age of 40, and to see a meaningful decrease in cervical cancer", Spitzer added. From the participants, 9,552 women were screened using HPV test and those who were negative for the test came back after four years for a check if they had a pre-cancerous or cancerous lesion. "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. "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 new study will probably "help push that along", said Wright of NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. "The ASCCP [American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology] pointed out that just doing the HPV testing would miss some people, and so they advocated for co-testing". Increasing awareness among the global population about the benefits associated with these type of tests such as pre cancer detection have also led to the increased number of procedures for testing cervical cancers across the globe.