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HPV screening common in region

THURSDAY, OCT. 18, 2007

A more sensitive screening test for cervical cancer is already common in the Inland Northwest, a Spokane laboratory expert said this week.

About 1,000 HPV DNA tests are performed each month by the Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories, said Ann Robinson, director of virology and microbiology.

They’re most often requested when ordinary Pap tests suggest cervical cancer, Robinson said. As new studies reported today in the New England Journal of Medicine indicate, the HPV tests are about twice as accurate as the Pap.

But Robinson disagreed with researchers who said the new test might make the Pap test obsolete. The 50-year-old test still provides valuable information for doctors and patients.

“I don’t think they’ll ever really replace the Pap screen,” she said. “But if you do both the Pap and the HPV DNA, maybe a woman doesn’t need screening so often.”

– JoNel Aleccia


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