The test for cervical cancer has proven highly effective in detecting cancerous cells, but a new study out today is shedding light on a newer, more sensitive test.
Dr. Howard Jones of Vanderbilt University says, “The pap plus the HPV, or just the HPV alone, picked up more, almost double as a matter of fact, the number of patients that just the pap smear alone picked up.”
The new procedure uses a molecular technology to detect HPV, the sexually transmitted virus that causes nearly all cervical cancers.
While the test is better at picking out pre-cancerous cells, it also reports more “false positives” than the traditional pap smear, forcing women to undergo an invasive biopsy procedure, straining both financial and medical resources.
Doctors say if both tests come back negative, the patient would only have to be tested once every three years, rather than every year, as is recommended for pap smears.