HPV Test Better Than Pap Smear for Cervical Cancer Screening

The HPV test for cervical cancer seems to be a better predictor of pre-cancerous lesions than a pap test alone.

Under cervical cancer screening guidelines issued by the American Cancer Society in 2002 and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 2003, women aged 30 or older should have both a Pap test, also known as a Pap smear, as well as an HPV test, also called an HPV co-test. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, and certain strains of the virus can cause cervical cancer.

Under current guidelines, if the results of both tests are normal, a woman can wait three years for her next Pap test, which looks for signs of cancer in cells from a woman’s cervix.

For this slow growing cancer, early detection is key.

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