ANCHOR LEAD: SHOULD ALL WOMEN BE ROUTINELY SCREENED FOR HUMAN PAPILLOMA VIRUS? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Human papilloma virus strains 16 and 18 are implicated in most cases of cervical cancer. Since women older than 20 or so and who are sexually active have probably already been exposed to the virus, should they be screened? Redonda Miller, an internal medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, describes the options.
MILLER: I think there are a couple of acceptable screening possibilities. So one is to have a Pap smear and if an abnormal finding is found to do a reflex HPV test at that point. And that’s perfectly acceptable. The other option would be to do both the combination of a Pap smear as well as HPV DNA together, up front. I think the important thing is for women to talk to her physician about her preference and the medical indication but either would be acceptable. :29
Even if a woman is found to be infected with HPV it’s not known whether she will develop cervical cancer, so regular exams are a good idea. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.