More accurate test for HPV launched

More accurate test for HPV launched

A new HPV screening test, hrHPV,  which is more accurate than the current PAP smear test and means women will be able to have their check-ups every 5 years compared to the current 3, will be available throughout Britain by the end of 2019 according to the NHS, who have trialed it already in Wales.

The work was led by Kings College, London scientists and involved six NHS laboratories working to produce a more accurate test to bring the number of cervical cancer cases down from 2500 a year in England by at least four to five hundred cases (1).

Currently, a surprising 1 in 4 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed following a negative PAP smear test! The new screening test is purported to confer greater sensitivity than the existing smear test and that should translate to more lives saved. The hrHPV test showed up 50% more 'abnormal changes' at grade 2 or worse; 40% more at grade 3 or worse and 30% more cases of cervical cancer.

HPV is a common virus which is mainly contracted through sex or oral sex. Cancer of the cervix and other genital areas is frequently caused by HPV infection and so the need for better testing is paramount. However, it is important to remember that not all HPV infections lead to cancer. For example, 6 million women in the USA are infected by HPV but there are only a little over 13,000 cases of cervical cancer a year.

Go to: Cervical cancer overview - symptoms, causes and alternative treatments


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