New recommendations indicate that the HPV test could replace the smear to detect cervical cancer.
If you are a woman over the age of 21, chances are you have already had the uncomfortable cervical cancer screening test, known as "Pap smear", or " Pap smear. Today, new guidelines present an alternative screening method, which could make Pap smear obsolete for women over 30 years old.
Texts published by the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) indicate that women can be screened for cervical cancer by testing for "high-risk" human papillomavirus (HPV) strains every five years. This is an analysis of the cells found in vaginal and cervical secretions. This means that there is no need for simultaneous Pap smears.
Every three years instead of once a year
Indeed, all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV, so screening for the virus before it leads to cancer is an excellent alternative. For women between the ages of 21 and 29, the UPSTF states that pap smear is still the most effective way to detect cervical cancer, but recommendations go from one test every three years to place of once a year.
Specifically, the experts make the following recommendations:
- Women aged 30 to 65 years can be tested for HPV every five years or Pap smear every three years, and a combination of these two tests every five years.
- Women over 65 who have undergone clear tests probably do not need further testing.
- Women under 21 do not need testing.
Cancer-related HPV screening outperformed pap smears
The new guidelines follow a study earlier this year, which found that cancer-related HPV testing outperformed pap smears in women over 30 years old. "Our work has shown that there is now strong evidence for the effectiveness of high-risk HPV testing alone as a screening test for cervical cancer," said Joy Melnikow, director of the Canadian Cancer Society. 'trial.
An estimated 79 million Americans, most in their late teens and early twenties, are infected with HPV through sexual contact. Most of the time, the virus drains naturally, but can sometimes lead to cancer of the cervix, 10 to 15 years later.
In France, cervical cancer is the 12th most common female cancer. Screening for precancerous lesions by conducting a regular screening test has halved the number of new cases and the number of deaths over the last 20 years. Vaccination against the main types of HPV for young girls is a way to complement this cancer.