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HPV test can replace Pap for some women



By Serena Gordon

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, August 21, 2018 (HealthDay News) – The Pap Smear has long been the gold standard for cervical cancer screening, but a panel of experts now says HPV (The Human Papillomavirus – Test is also an option for women over the age of 30.

These women now have three choices under the new recommendations of the US Preventive Services Working Group (USPSTF):

  • A Pap test is performed every three years HPV is one Virus that is known to cause cervical cancer.
  • Both tests every five years.

The workgroup also recommended a Pap test every three years for women ages 21

and 29.

"It is very important for all women to be screened for cervical cancer Screening can reduce deaths from cervical cancer, "said Dr. Douglas Owens, vice chairman of the USPSTF. [19659004] "There are three good options for screening for cervical cancer in women between the ages of 30 and 65. Our recommendation is that women talk with their doctor about which option is best for them," Owens added.

A Pap test for changes in cervical cells that indicate cancer or precancerous changes, according to the US Office on Women's Health. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the HPV test looks for signs of the virus in cells, but not for cancer.

Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by high-risk HPV infections, according to the background information in the recommendations. Both tests use samples taken from the cervix of a woman. A woman will not notice any difference in the tests, the ACS said.

The Task Force did not recommend HPV testing or co-testing for younger women.

Debbie Saslow, senior director of HPV-related and female cancers at ACS, explained why it is not a good idea to test HPV in women under the age of 30. "Almost everyone gets HPV, but more than 99 percent of the time, HPV goes by itself. If you test for HPV in younger women [before the infection has a chance to clear on its own] that would be unnecessarily alarming," she said. Continued

Dr. George Sawaya, author of a lead article accompanying the new recommendations, agreed

"HPV testing earlier [than age 30] will lead to more false positives," he said. "In other words, some women will have invasive diagnostic procedures and have no cervical problems." Sawaya is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco.

The working group also made recommendations on who does not need screening for cervical cancer. This included women under the age of 21, women with a hysterectomy involving removal of the cervix, women over the age of 65 and older, who had adequate screening in the past and were not at high HPV risk.

Saslow said that the most important message that women should remove from the new recommendations is simple: get checked out.

"Most cervical cancers are seen in women who are never screened or rarely screened, and whatever is available for a test is screened, and if you have the choice and are over 30, ask for an HPV Test, "she suggested.

Sawaya agreed. "Regardless of the method used for screening, it is most important for women to have easy access to affordable screening," he said.

Saslow also pointed out that young people should be sure to get the HPV vaccine if they do not get it in their teens. Men and women can get the HPV vaccine until the age of 26, although younger is better, she added.

The new recommendations were published in the August 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association .

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Douglas Owens, MD, Vice Chairman, US Preventive Services Task Force, Professor, Medicine, Stanford University and Physician, VA Palo Alto Health System, California; Debbie Saslow, Ph.D., Senior Director, HPV-related and Women's Cancer, American Cancer Society; George Sawaya, M.D., Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco; August 21, 2018, Journal of the American Medical Association



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