May 24, 2011
A new study shows the HPV test was able to predict cervical cancer more accurately than a pap smear.
Doctors say this means women having good results can wait three years for their next screening instead of just one year.
Cervical cancer risk can be assessed by the traditional pap smear and the HPV test.
National Cancer Institute researchers studied more than 300,000 women who underwent both tests and followed them for five years.
They found the estimated risk of developing cervical cancer was slightly more than seven-per-100,000 women for those with a negative result on their pap smear.
And the estimated risk for women who tested negative on the HPV test was slightly less then four-per-100,000.
The National Cancer Institute reports unlike some cancers, cervical cancer is usually slow-growing and curable if detected early.
Health experts say these findings are not likely to be controversial, since current guidelines recommend women over thirty be screened with both a pap smear and an HPV test every three years as long as initial tests are negative.