Research we're watching
A test that screens for human papillomavirus (HPV) beat a commonly used cervical cancer screening method in detecting changes that may lead to cervical cancer, according to a study published July 3 in The Journal of the American Medical Association. Some 19,000 women were screened for cervical cancer using either the HPV test or a more traditional and commonly used liquid-based cytology test. After 48 months, all the women were tested again using both tests. Researchers found that among women who'd had a normal initial screening, those who'd been screened with the HPV test had significantly fewer grade 3 or worse precancerous cervical changes at the final testing compared with those screened with liquid-based cytology.
In response, the U.S Preventive Services Task Force now recommends either HPV testing only once every five years or liquid-based cytology once every three years for women ages 30 to 65.
Image credit: © jarun011/iStock
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.