Cervical cancer is difficult to treat, especially during the advanced stages, but can be prevented. To battle this widespread cancer, however, early testing is important. A study conducted by Queen Mary University of London found that large-scale self-testing for HPV, responsible for cervical cancer, is as effective—if not better—in detecting the virus as the traditional cytology screening done in clinics.
Science Daily reported on the findings in an article on January 21, 2014. It reads:
“Researchers from Queen Mary University of London conducted a pilot study of 100,242 Mexican women—the largest study of its kind—aged 25-75 and from low-income backgrounds. Around 11% of women tested positive for HPV (10,863 women).
However, when self-testing was rolled out on this scale, the number of women referred to clinics for follow-up tests rapidly increased. The findings revealed the quality of clinical care then went down, as clinics were unable to handle the high number of patients.
Attila Lorincz, Professor of Molecular Epidemiology and lead author, Queen Mary University of London, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, comments:
“Our findings show that large-scale HPV screening can be successfully implemented by home testing. However, if a positive result is received, it’s imperative that all other follow-up services are strengthened so they can accommodate the big increase in screened women.”
Women in Alaska who are positive for HPV, whether from a home-testing device or a conventional smear test, should visit a urgent care in Eagle River such as Primary Care Associates to get a colposcopy. Colposcopy is a diagnostic technique that illuminates and magnifies the cervix, vulva, and vagina to look for abnormal-looking tissues in the area and get biopsies for pathological testing. The method has become a significant follow-up procedure for cervical cancer patients after cytology tests.
Patients suspecting cervical cancer should confirm self-test results with Eagle River urgent care for early diagnosis and treatment. In the battle against cancer, the best way of winning is to prevent it from happening.
[Article information and image from: “Large-scale HPV self-testing proves effective for screening cervical cancer,” Science Daily, January 21, 2014]