Getting Plucky about the New HPV Test – Part I

A cervical cancer screening test which can spot potential perils with far greater sensitiveness as compared to Pap and with a hundred percent reliability when done along with Pap smear – the HPV test is now available.

Having garnered FDA approval and endorsement by the ACS (American Cancer Society) as well as ACOG (the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists), the HPV test is an alternative that could be conducted alongside your Pap smear.

However, in spite of this all, merely an estimate fifteen percent of physicians are making use of it.

The New HPV Test – What is it all about?

In most occasions, cervical cancer develops due to an earlier infection with HPV or human papillomavirus viral form. There are over a hundred HPV subspecies from which around forty of them could be transmitted via sexual contact.

Several of them are contributory to wart formations whereas others are asymptomatic. However, several forms cause cell irregularities in the cervical lining which could become cancerous in the future.

Duo of such strains – HPV 16 and 18 are believed to be accountable for around seventy percent of all cervical cancer incidents. The HPV test factually would home in onto the heritable coding which crops up in these duo strains, along with twelve other elevated risk strains.

A negative outcome of the HPV test would indicate absence of the active viral form and an affirmative outcome which mean presence of a single or more of such strains.

The HPV Test and Pap Smear – How do they Differ?

The Pap smear is intended for visually identifying (laboratory technicians or computerized) of any abnormally appearing cells. Initially garnered FDA approval as a follow up test in case of females having vague Pap outcomes (technical term known as ASCUS or atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance), a group which is observed in around 3 million females annually.

Recently, it got approved as a screening test for females in their thirties and above, to be carried out alongside the Pap smear, and, usually on the analogous cervical cell sample.

HPV Test Efficacy

An Indian study conducted last year by 2 NCI researchers mentioned in the ‘New England Journal of Medicine’ which involved 131746 females indicated that those in the age band of thirty to 59 years of age, a sole HPV test conducted fifteen to twenty years post the average age of foremost sexual contact was able to spot several easily curable, persisting infections and pre-malignant conditions while restricting over-treatment.

Why is it necessary to improvise on the Pap smear?

The pap smear has a number of drawbacks. Firstly, a solo Pap could skip out fifty percent of cell irregularities (however since such alterations generally develop at a gradual pace, likelihood is high that an irregularity would be spotted on the subsequent test).

The Pap could additionally show untrue results – tissues in the cervix continually undergoing surface modifications and these might appear in the Pap then self-subsiding.

Although no screening is deemed hundred percent accurate yet the combination of Pap plus HPV test could provide almost 99.84% accuracy.

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