Read Dr. Bowers' Perspective

"The risk of cervical cancer is real for nearly every sexually active woman, and adding the HPV test to the Pap gives physicians and women more sensitive screening, earlier detection and greater peace of mind."

- Dr. Bowers

Dr. Bowers' Perspective

Jodi McKinney has been a patient at my practice for many years, I’ve delivered her five children, and she’s come on-time, every time for her Pap tests (which were always normal) and annual exams. She’s that woman next door who did everything right. Given this history and her healthy lifestyle, she was not really on my radar for being at high risk for cervical cancer.

But this changed when I started offering my patients HPV testing in 2005. Already in her mid-30s, Jodi and I discussed adding the HPV test to her Pap when she came in for her regular visit, and she agreed to have the test, expecting both tests to come back normal. When her HPV test came back positive and her Pap test came back normal, we were both a little surprised. However, I told Jodi not to be too concerned and just come back in six months to repeat both tests, which she did.

This time, her Pap test was abnormal, and she still had HPV. My next step was to do a colposcopy exam with a biopsy, which revealed high-grade pre-cancerous cells (CIN 2). Following a successful LEEP procedure that removed all of the pre-cancerous cells, Jodi is now able to put her cervical cancer scare behind her.

However, her case is never far from my mind as I discuss HPV testing with my other patients 30 and older. Now, if women and other physicians ask me whether they need the HPV test, I tell them without a doubt; absolutely.

The risk of cervical cancer is real for nearly every sexually active woman, and adding the HPV test to the Pap gives physicians and women more sensitive screening, earlier detection and greater peace of mind.