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New DNA-Based Test Could Replace the Pap Smear

On Tap? A Test to Replace the Pap

The annual Pap smear could become a relic if a new DNA test proves as effective as promised. According to a study published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, a new screening involving DNA could be better than all other tests in detecting HPV and cervical cancer.

For women over 30, the test would only have to be performed every three, five, or 10 years, which would mean an end to the annual smear. But doctors are hesitant to abandon Paps altogether, since the procedure has been incredibly effective at reducing rates of cervical cancer. The new test could be most helpful in lower-income countries, where there are fewer doctors trained to read Pap smears and it's more difficult for women to return for followup appointments. I'm sure I'm not the only one who would welcome a less invasive test; what do you think?


Join The Conversation
Matdredalia Matdredalia 8 years
For the love of god, bring on this alternate testing. If i could, I would abandon having paps ever, ever again. Unfortunately I have my fair share of problems with that whole system, so I have to be even more careful about what goes on down there. *sigh* However, my last pap was freakin' PAINFUL....not to mention invasive and humiliating, so yeah, I would definitely take a different route if I could.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
I'll stick with paps. I really don't mind them?
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 8 years
I don't mind Paps, I dont like them but they're bearable. It would be nice if the lube was warmer and the speculum didn't make me bleed though. But I get STD tested at the same time, so I'm with SkiGurl on this one.
ThePerfectScore ThePerfectScore 8 years
I'm sticking with paps, I like the reassurance of having one yearly, although I got an abnormal pap my last time :( Hopefully it will clear up. But I don't mind paps at all.
Miss-Senorita Miss-Senorita 8 years
I with skigurl.
cjmara805 cjmara805 8 years
Dear, it's not less invasive, it's the exact same procedure as a pap smear, as in you get your cervix scraped. The only difference is they test the cervical cells for HPV DNA. It's only less invasive in the sense that you don't have to go every year to get opened up and scraped!
sprinkibrio sprinkibrio 8 years
We just talked about this in my med school class. The only thing about the new test is it would give a lot of false positives for HPV in those younger than 30. The younger than 30 crowd gets HPV all the time, over and over (a 50% chance when you sleep with someone basically) but 99% of the abnormal results that the test would find would resolve in a year or so. In the older than 30 crowd who is not getting reinfected with HPV over an over, a positive test is more likely a precancerous lesion and not a reinfection. There is a lot of talk to give it WITH a pelvic exam, both every three years, because a pelvic is good detecting a lot of other things. Now it's time to sit back and wait for study results before changes in treatment can be made!
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
ski I'm with you. I don't mind it, I feel at ease afterward knowing things are okay.
greenapples1987 greenapples1987 8 years
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I've had a couple of PAP smears come back "abnormal" due to the type of birth control I was on and I was terrified until my OB-GYN explained that it wasn't anything to worry about. If a new test could decrease the chance of that happening, I'd try it. We just got a new test for STDs at our lab that we're excited about. It's a probe test that checks for chlamydia, gonnorhoea, and trichimonas. It's a lot more accurate than the old-school gram stain method that we usually have done in the past.
dm8bri dm8bri 8 years
Ugh, this reminds me that I have my annual tomorrow. I hate paps but I don't love the idea of DNA tests that (yay) can detect cancer but also bring up a litany of maybes - maybe I might get alzheimers one day, you know?
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I would just be happy if they got a nice little warmer for the K-Y. I also dont mind getting a PAP. I know how important they are, and how quick they are over with! Remember being TERRIFIED the first time? I did, and I cried after because i had been holding all the stress and worry in!
skigurl skigurl 8 years
i think i'm one of very few girls who actually doesn't mind getting a pap...obviously i don't LIKE it and while it's happening i wish i was dead but it only lasts 30 seconds and frankly, it gives me peace of mind...a DNA test, unless it could also test for the herp and all STDs, i'd like my annual confirmation that everything is as it should be in my body
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