Pap test versus HPV test

Learn more about the difference between pap smears and the HPV test, and why both are important to a woman.

Women continue to wage a tough battle against cervical cancer. This malady was once the foremost killer of women in the United States. However, every year more than 10,000 cases of this malady are diagnosed. Luckily, an HPV vaccine was developed to protect the female gender from the Human Papilloma virus. Medical researchers are currently engaged in studies to discover the cancer at an earlier stage. One of the recent studies pointed out that women who acquire tests for cervical cancer can bring down the risks of the disease by three times.

Pap Smears

Numerous women (30 years and above) voluntarily undergo pap tests. The cervical cells are scraped at least once a year to detect symptoms of cancer in the cervix. This examination can be reduced to once every three years if the cells remain normal for three successive years. Medical professionals recommend that women from 21 to 30 years should get pap testing yearly because or frequent sexual activity. Tumors may be present if malformation is found in these cells.

A greater number of cases related to cervical cancer are triggered by Human Papilloma virus so HPV tests are highly recommended. Nonetheless, Pap smears continue to play a vital role since an HPV examination cannot possibly confirm all categories that can lead to cancer. The American Cancer Society has issued guidelines recently affirming that young women should avail of Pap smears upon reaching 21 years or three years after the first sexual activity of these individuals. The regular test should be undertaken annually while the liquid procedure is suggested every two years.

Testing for Human Papilloma Virus

Some anti- cancer groups in the country have suggested that women get the HPV test aside from the regular Pap smears. Some doctors stick to the first option since HPV infections usually recede after a couple of years. An independent government board even ruled out this cancer screening technique and endorsed the Pap method. The United States Preventive Services Task Force claimed that it was not practical to advocate regular utilization of this testing for women above 30 years. One of the latest studies advised that it may be more effective to opt for HPV testing with Pap smear verification for women beyond 30 years. Pap testing followed by HPV confirmation was more logical for younger females.

The issue raised by some sectors is that pap smears miss essential concerns which the other process can fill up. In fact, it may even be necessary to use both tests such as cases involving cancerous abrasions. There were studies in the past that reviewed incidences of cancer among the female sex after three years of HPV testing for females. The results insinuated that women who obtained the combined screening should be freed from undergoing any test for the next five years. However, the situation can be convoluted if the tests indicate positive results. The emergence of the new HPV-DNA mode of testing has prompted medical scientists to propose modifications in the guidelines for screening.