HPV Testing

22 04 2009

This is about speculums, Pap tests and pokey sticks.

For those who hate icy speculums and pokey swabs, read on, because those days may be, if not over, at least fewer in one’s lifetime.

An eight-year study of 130,000 women in India has shown that a DNA test beats out all others when it comes to detecting cancer-causing HPV. 

Early detection equals life—once undetected cancer reaches the point of women feeling pain, diagnosis can be too late to save the patient.

The bad news is, they still need to use a speculum and pokey swab. The good news is, rather than an annual exam, it may only have to be done every three, five or 10 years.  Exactly how often is not yet known.

We don’t see the numbers of cervical cancer deaths in the United States that are seen in some other countries, so we forget how devastating this infection can be.  A quarter of a million women in poor and middle-income countries die each year from cervical cancer, most of which is caused by HPV infection.  Early detection using the DNA test will save the life of somebody’s mom, wife, sister, grandmother, niece, or aunt. 

This is very good news.