HPV DNA Testing for Cervical Cancer Screening
Cervical cancer is a disease in which cancer cells grow in the cervix. Fortunately, cervical cancer can be prevented if precancerous cell changes are detected and treated early. The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the primary cause of nearly all cases of cervical cancer. HPV can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact. In most cases, the HPV virus is harmless and causes no symptoms. In fact, many young women who become infected with HPV are able to clear the infection through their own immune systems. However, certain high-risk types of HPV can cause cervical lesions. Over time, these may develop into cancer if untreated.The Pap smear is used detect cancerous and precancerous cervical lesions. Unfortunately, the Pap smear has been associated with false negative rates in some cases. In a false negative, the test indicates the pap smear is normal when, in fact, there is an abnormality. Women with abnormal results need further testing. The HPV test can be used in conjunction with the Pap test. The test determines the presence or absence of HPV and whether or not the HPV type present is the type that is associated with cancer.