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U.S. News

Women Urged to Take Papillomavirus Test; Procedure Helps Detect Cervical Cancer Risk

October 3, 2003

A new DNA test for human papillomavirus (HPV) gives doctors an earlier warning than the Pap test that their patients may harbor the virus that causes most cervical cancer. On Tuesday, the American Cancer Society, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals included the DNA HPV test as part of their regular screening recommendations.

The DNA HPV test, recommended for women over age 30, won Food and Drug Administration approval in March. It should not be given more than every three years, according to Debbie Saslow of the American Cancer Society.

"The ability to test for the virus that causes cervical cancer marks the beginning of a new era in cervical cancer screening -- and in fighting all women's cancers," said Phyllis Greenberger, president of the Society for Women's Health Research, at a briefing on Capitol Hill.

While endorsing use of the new test, Saslow said, "There is much to be done to develop counseling and other tools to help women and [health care] providers understand the implications of knowing one's HPV status."

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The incidence of cervical cancer has decreased significantly in the last 40 years, largely due to screening. However, an estimated 12,200 new cases will be diagnosed this year and roughly 4,100 women will die of the disease. Researchers are exploring an HPV vaccine, said Dr. Diane Solomon of the National Cancer Institute, but approval of such a vaccine is five to ten years in the future.

Back to other news for October 3, 2003

Adapted from:
Hartford Courant (Connecticut)
10.01.2003; John A. McDonald



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 

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