-- Robert Preidt
SATURDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Screening for the human
papillomavirus (HPV) is more effective than Pap tests for
protecting women against invasive cervical cancer, a new study
HPV causes most cases of cervical cancer. In a Pap test, cells
from the cervix are examined under a microscope for abnormalities
that can lead to cervical cancer. In HPV-based screening, the cells
are initially tested for HPV.
If cell changes or HPV are detected in either type of screening,
the patient is notified and undergoes further screening and
examination, followed by treatment if needed.
In this study, researchers analyzed data from four clinical
trials in Europe that compared the Pap test and HPV-based
screening. The data came from more than 175,000 women, aged 20 to
64, who were followed for an average of six and a half years after
having one of the screening tests.
Both methods provided similar levels of protection against
invasive cervical cancer for the first two and a half years after
the screening tests. But for the remainder of the follow-up period,
HPV screening offered 60 percent to 70 percent greater protection
than Pap test screening, according to the study.
The findings were published in the journal
The Lancetand presented Saturday at a European meeting of
experts in cervical cancer control and HPV-associated diseases.
The increased protection offered by HPV screening was
particularly notable in women aged 30 to 35. The researchers also
found that HPV screening every five years was most protective
against invasive cancers of the cervix, compared with Pap test
screening done every three years.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about
cervical cancer screening.
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