Thursday, October 18, 2007

Better Screening Test for Cervical Cancer - Are Pap Smears Obsolete?

Very exciting news about the war against cancer. A published article in the New England Journal of Medicine found that screening for the human papilloma virus (HPV) was far more accurate in detecting cervical cancer than the current PAP smear.

Highlights from the article.

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.

The Canadian study, which was government-funded, included 10,154 women ages 30 to 69 in Montreal and St. John's, Newfoundland. The women got both tests. Still to be determined is the best way to start using the HPV test by itself and what follow-up action to take after positive results, the researchers said.

Dr. Carolyn D. Runowicz, who wrote a journal editorial, noted that the two studies used a different kind of Pap test, not the liquid-based technology used in the U.S, which may be more sensitive The results of a British study that used liquid Pap are due to be presented in November.

"We're not ready for prime time. We're moving in that direction. But we're not there yet," said Runowicz, a former president of the American Cancer Society.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails