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HPV/Genital Warts Health Center

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HPV Test Helps Detect Cervical Cancer

Study Shows Lesions That Lead to Cancer Spotted Earlier Than With Pap Test Alone

Screening Less Often

The researchers conclude that HPV testing could lead to longer intervals between testing, raising the possibility that more women will be screened.

But HPV testing alone would not be a good strategy for screening women under 30 because so many young women have transient HPV infection, says Carmel Cohen, MD, Columbia University School of Medicine professor of obstetrics and gynecology.

"A younger woman who is positive for HPV is more likely to be negative again six months later," Cohen tells WebMD. "If we used the HPV test alone we would be putting younger women through a lot of needless follow-up testing."

Cohen says it remains to be seen if HPV testing will turn out to be a good single test for screening women who are 30 and older.

"Whether HPV positivity alone is an acceptable method of screening remains to be verified in studies with longer follow-up," he says.

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