PAP OR HPV?
ANCHOR LEAD: WILL TESTING WOMEN FOR THE HPV VIRUS SUPPLANT PAP SMEARS? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Routine Pap smears are a medical success story, identifying many women with cervical cancer at a time when treatment is fairly straightforward. Yet the test is very subjective and some women with the disease are missed. Now researchers are proposing that testing for human papilloma virus or HPV, which causes virtually all cervical cancer, is both effective and practical. Cornelia Trimble, a cervical cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, agrees.
TRIMBLE: Well, it’s such an obvious thing to do. I mean, HPV infection, persistent HPV infection, is the single proximate cause of cervical cancer, and you need really cumbersome and expensive infrastructure to do Pap smear screening which is the current screening algorhythm, it’s very expensive. And so, if there could be devised an inexpensive and fast HPV test for 16 or 18, that’s the way the field is going. :24
So look for routine HPV testing to appear soon. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.