Women over the age of 30 year will have more options when they choose the screening for cervical cancer according to a new study.
The human papillomavirus, abbreviated as HPV is the prime cause for cervical cancer. Females between 30 and 65 will now be able to choose between a Pap test every three years, an HPV test every five years or both every five years.
Previous guidelines suggested that women in the mentioned age group should take a Pap every three years a combined test every 5 years. For females between 21 and 30 only a Pap smear every three years is the official recommendation. Testing is not needed if you are under the age of 21 as it will only reveal if you have a HPV infection as the disease requires a long time in order to progress. This has remained a norm since the Pap test was introduced 75 years ago.
The guidelines are established by the Preventive Services Task Force, an independent team of experts that elaborates recommendations for the general public. Women over 65 can opt out of the tests if they want to. The HPV and Pap test cannot detect sexually transmitted disease or other forms of cancer so they should visit the doctor every now and then.
Rogue strains of HPV can lead to cellular mutation at the level of the cervix, and it may evolve into cervical cancer in approximately 10 to 15 years. Genital warts may also appear but they do not represent a risk factor.
According to worldwide statistics, cervical cancer is the fourth cause of cancer in women. In severe cases, cervical cancer may result in severe hemorrhages, pain and unusual discharges.
Rough estimations mention that over 4,100 women may die from cervical cancer this year alone. In most cases, they cannot afford the treatment and they have little no access to preventive care.