Breaking News on Cervical Cancer

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Breaking News on Cervical Cancer This just in: The test for human papillomavirus (HPV) – the leading cause of cervical cancer – can be up to 40 percent more accurate than a Pap test in detecting your risk for the disease, according to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. While a Pap can identify existing precancerous cells in the cervix, the HPV test detects the actual infection that may progress to precancer in the future, says Debbie Saslow, Ph.D., director of breast and gynecologic cancer at the American Cancer Society. The caveat: Since most HPV infections don’t turn into cervical cancer – especially those contracted before age 30, when your immune system is more likely to beat the infection on its own – there is concern that women who do test positive for HPV may be sent for additional testing procedures that they don’t actually need. For women over 30, however, the American Cancer Society and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend asking your doctor about getting both a Pap and an HPV test, since cervical cancer is usually completely curable if caught early. To learn more about the HPV test, visit and talk to your doctor.

- Cristina Gonzalez