Goodbye Pap smear and hello human papillomavirus (HPV) screening test.
“As of this month, the two yearly Pap smear for women aged 18 – 69 will change to the five-yearly HPV test,” said Doctor Lee.
Recent studies found screening for HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer, is more effective than pap-smear-like methods of detecting pre-cancerous cells and will protect up to 30-percent more women.
If the new test detects an HPV infection, the cell sample will undergo another test in the lab. The additional reflex liquid-based cytology (LBC) test checks for abnormal cell changes. The outcome of the LBC test determines the risk of developing cervical cancer and the subsequent clinical management.
Doctor Lee said even if girls have had the HPV vaccine, as part of the school vaccination program, they’re not protected against all the types of HPV that cause cervical cancer.
Women will be due for their first Cervical Screening Test two years after their last Pap test. After that, every five years unless HPV is detected.
For younger women, screening starts at the age of 25 years instead of 18.
If you’re aged between 25 and 75 ask your GP about the new HPV cervical screening test. It could save your life.
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