A new study has found that the onset of cervical cancer in women can be easily understood with the help of human papillomavirus (HPV) test and is more effective than the Pap smear of Pap test .
HPV examination may be the best way to find out whether there is a risk of cervical cancer. According to the scientists, the negative test result provides more reliable confirmation that the women wouldn’t develop cervical cancer or other abnormal changes in their cervix in the next three years.
The HPV test was vote more reliable an effective as compared to traditional Pap tests, researchers said.
Study lead author Julia Gage said, “Primary HPV screening might be a viable alternative to Pap screening alone.”
Gage works at National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, about 12,000 American women were found suffering from cervical cancer in 2010. The CDC report showed that 4,000 people died from the disease.
According to the health experts, around 91 percent of cervical cancer patients are estimated to be caused by HPV.
If previous studies are taken into consideration, the US cervical cancer rate was about 12 cases per 100,000 women. Also, the highest rates were found in women in the age group 40 to 44. But the current study shows a significant 18.6 cases per 100,000 women and the age group at highest risk has also changed from 40-44 to 65-69.
The researchers collected information of over one million women between age group 30 and 64 years. They were tested for cervical cancer at Kaiser Permanente Northern California since 2003.
The participants who had a negative Pap or HPV test were followed by the researchers in order to see whether they developed cervical cancer during the next three years. The researchers also looked at development of cervical cancer among the participants in the five years following contesting.
- Out of the total women who got negative Pap test result, about 20 women out of 100,000 developed cervical cancer in the three years.
- 11 women out of 100,000 had cancer during the three years after receiving a negative HPV test.
- About 14 women out of 100,000 developed cervical cancer in five years following negative test results.
The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
According to the researchers, the findings are not surprising as HPV is the cause of most cervical cancers.
“We always have to reconsider how we’re screening patients and focus on the best way to screen for certain cancer,” said Dr. Mario Leitao Jr., a gynecological surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
Leitao, who was not involved with the new study, said, “I think this is very interesting because instead of doing (Pap tests) every three years you could do HPV (tests) every three years.”
HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection, is found in both men and women. According to government figures, about 79 million people suffer from the infection. But health experts say there are huge chances that this infection may get untracked as symptoms are uncommon.