As per the latest guidelines updated by an expert panel appointed by the government, some women now have the latest option to go for the screening of cervical cancer with no involvement of the Pap test. The guidelines come from U.S. Preventive Service Task Force or the USPSTF which suggests that women between the age of 30 and 65 can essentially opt for the screening process of cervical cancer just with the use of HPV test done every 5 years. This test for detecting Human Papillomavirus strains is helpful for detection of cervical cancer as well without the need for Pap test.
Before this, it was recommended by the USPSTF to go for the “Co-testing” option that implies the use for both Pap test as well as HPV for confirmation of the presence of cervical cancer which needs to be carried out every 5 years for women aged between 30 and 65. While the procedure is still recommended for screening of cervical cancer, patients tend to prefer it less as it requires the women to undergo more number of tests or procedures which can be exhausting and expensive as well.
Alternatively, the women can go for solo Pap testing every 3 years to detect the presence of cervical cancer if HPV test is something they don’t want to go through. Although the rise in technological advancements has led to scope for better choices for women who should be screened for cervical cancer, the need of the hour here is to make them opt for the test on a regular basis for early detection.
The government has been initiating efforts in order to facilitate better options for the women to choose the adequate screening methods in order to curb the rate of loss through these issues. Dr. Joy Melnikow, the Director at UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research stated that regular screening regardless of the method opted for shall lead to reduced rate of cervical cancer with better scope for early treatment. The biggest challenge here is to reach the women who have failed to show up for screening.
According to the study that led the new changes in screening policies, HPV tends to spread via sexual contact and results for 90% of the overall cases of cervical cancer. Even though HPV infections tend to clear up eventually, for some cases, this virus might linger around leading to the onset of cervical cancer for the patient.