Friday, 19 October 2007

HPV test superior to Pap test?

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Let's face it, nobody enjoys going for their yearly Pap test. It's just one of those parts of being an adult that we women do because it's good for our health (and unfortunately way too many women don't bother at all). I assume men feel the same way about prostrate exams. It's not fun, but still we've got to get it done.

The good news is that apparently a new, more effective test to screen for cervical cancer has been developed. A study conducted at McGill University, which is about to published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the HPV test was able to detect pre-cancerous lesions in up to 94.6% of study participants while the Pap test discovered only 55.4%. That's a pretty major difference, especially where cancer screening is concerned.

Also, according to the article, women who receive negative results from an HPV test, which screens for the HPV virus which causes most if not all cases of cervical cancer, will only have to repeat the exam every 3 years. Unfortunately, those who have the HPV test and receive a positive result will also have to undergo the Pap test to check for pre-cancerous cells. If you want to know more about the study, take a look at the entire article here and for more information on the HPV test, consult your physician.

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