New cervical cancer screening test could replace pap smears

By MiNDFOOD

New cervical cancer screening test could replace pap smears
The two-year pap smear could soon be swapped for a more accurate cervical cancer screening test for women every five years.

Cancer Australia has welcomed recommendations by the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) to establish the world’s first national cervical screening program that uses a primary human papillomavirus (HPV) test to help prevent cervical cancer.

Likely to come into play in 2016, the new cervical screening test detects HPV infection, which we now know to be the first step in developing cervical cancer.

The recommendations for the renewed cervical cancer screening program, which are based on the best available current scientific evidence, propose that Australian women aged 25 – 74 years, irrespective of having had a HPV vaccination, have a HPV test every five years to help prevent cervical cancer. MSAC also determined that a HPV test every five years can save more lives, and women will need fewer tests, than in the current two-yearly Pap test program.

“Since the commencement of the highly successful National Cervical Screening Program, the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer has halved. The independent advisory committee review of the evidence indicates that this new approach will further increase women’s chances of preventing cervical cancer and is just as safe.” said Professor Helen Zorbas, CEO Cancer Australia.

These recommendations will now undergo extensive consultation and consideration by government. At this time women should continue to have two-yearly pap tests.

The full MSAC recommendations are available at: www.msac.gov.au

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