January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month (and Jan. 22-28 is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week).
To bring some awareness of this important topic, we are sharing a recent Kaiser Permanente study, which has found a more effective way to test for the human papillomavirus (HPV).
HPV infections are the most common sexually transmitted infections in the United States and are the main cause of cervical cancer in women.
A study of more than 850 women demonstrated it is effective to conduct HPV test in the same preservative fluid as a Pap test. This has the potential to increase efficiency and decrease waste. As a result of the findings, organizations such as Kaiser Permanente can consider transitioning to single collection of a Pap test and HPV test, rather than sending two different samples to the lab, said lead author, Devansu Tewari, MD, MBA, a gynecologic oncologist at Kaiser Permanente in Orange County, California.
Both the Pap and HPV test are used to screen for cervical cancer. This research is a step toward making testing for HPV infections more simple and straightforward.
“The opportunity to move toward primary HPV screening would not have existed with the method we currently use,” Dr. Tewari said. “As future studies build upon this one, that potential of primary HPV screening is within reach. It is one of many ways we are working to enhance cervical cancer screening.”
Read more about the study here.