HPV Test Better for Detecting Cervical Cancer

By CNN News Wire

Published 03/18 2014 06:18AM

Updated 03/18 2014 07:51AM

Could a new procedure be taking the place of the pap test?

An FDA advisory committee unanimously recommended this week that an HPV or human papilomavirus test become the first line of screening for the deadly disease.

The Roche Cobas test detects the DNA of the virus, which is the cause of more than 99% of all cervical cancers.  The pap test is designed to look for abnormal cells that could indicate cervical cancer.  Up until now, the pap was the first test women had to detect the illness with the HPV test as a second analysis. 

The committee also recommended the test to be used alone as the primary evaluation for women 25 years and older. Although there are other HPV tests available, the Roche test detects two strains of the virus that are found in 70 percent of all cervical cancers. 

This does not mean that the pap test will go away. It could be used along with the HPV test or as a follow-up screening.  It will really be up to the patient and her doctor on how best to handle testing.  


(Martha Shade for CNN's Health Minute)

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