Could This Be the End of Pap Smears?
- Posted on: Sep 30 2014
Let’s face it. As necessary as a pap smear may be, most patients will agree that the current test for human papillomavirus (HPV) is not their favorite activity. Many women may wish to opt out of a traditional pap smear, but is there a choice?
Recently reported in the British Medical Journal, a study of the accuracy of urine HPV testing has shown that patients may soon have another option. After analyzing both a pap smear and a urine sample, researchers have determined that a simple urine test may be accurate enough to detect HPV.
This is great news for patients who are reluctant to be tested with a cervical smear. The current procedure may soon be replaced by the more acceptable urine sampling, and researchers hope that this will encourage more women to be screened for HPV.
In recent years, the number of people who receive cervical screening has decreased, even though HPV is still no less of a concern. Urine screening for HPV may be more affordable and available than a pap smear, which should help to increase the number women who have regular screenings.
Better yet, the accessibility and simplicity of a urine test can lead to more women receiving tests in underdeveloped countries as well. The test may even shorten a visit to the gynecologist or allow women to be screened more often. The convenience of a urine HPV test is undeniably beneficial, however more research must be done before it can be practiced.
Human papillomavirus is a common sexually transmitted infection, the high-risk strains of which can cause cervical cancer. Although cervical smears may not be the most appealing method to screen for HPV, it’s still the only way to detect the virus and patients are strongly encouraged to be tested.
We at the Woodlands OBGYN Associates look forward to the new developments in HPV testing. Until then, we will be happy to help you with any questions or concerns about pap smears and HPV detection. Call us today at (281)364-9898 or request an appointment by signing in to our Patient Login.
Posted in: OBGYN