Novel Pap test may be more accurate in detecting cervical cancer

A clinical trial is underway that may provide women with a more accurate way to detect cervical cancer. The clinical research study includes undergoing a Pap test and HPV screening to determine how to more effectively evaluate a woman's chance of developing cervical cancer.

The American Cancer Society predicts that in the United States cervical cancer will be diagnosed in more than 12,100 women this year, and roughly 4,220 women will die of the disease. Newer Pap tests and HPV screening more accurately identify precancerous cellular changes that have the potential to cause cervical cancer.

When treated early, the chances of effectively treating and curing cervical cancer increase dramatically. Compared with a conventional Pap test, the newer FDA-approved process has increased detection of a significant precancerous condition by more than 64%. By making the cervical cells easier to see, the new liquid-based Pap test produces better results for screening and detecting cervical cancer and its precursors.

HPV is present in more than 99% of women who develop cervical cancer. Newer DNA-based technology has also proven to be up to 40% more accurate than traditional Pap tests.

“After decades of women going to their doctor for annual Pap tests, the FDA, in an historic decision in April 2014, approved HPV testing as a replacement for the Pap test. Because of this new option for patients, more tests are now being developed to further expand the options for women, and we are excited to be a part of this new, more accurate, more sensitive, and more comfortable method to prevent cancer in women. It's a groundbreaking development that provides women in our community with access to the best cervical health screening available today,” said study leader Mark Martens, MD, chair of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, New Jersey, and world renowned expert in women's health.

In this study, patients will have cancer-causing HPV strains tested from the liquid-based Pap specimen to determine if either one or both tests will improve cancer detection. In order to be eligible to participate women must be age 21 years or older and have not had a Pap test in the past 4 months or a hysterectomy. Participants must also meet other criteria to qualify for this clinical research study. Women who participate will receive study-related medical care at no charge, and will be compensated for study-related procedures. The trial is being conducted by Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

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