Move over Pap test, there is a new test in town to help prevent cervical cancer.
A ritual most women over the age of 13 have endured is the PAP test, which tests the cells of the cervix to rule out cervical cancer. The PAP test has been thought to have saved thousands of lives over the years.
If you had seen the Showtime series Masters of Sex, which was about William Masters and his quest to better understand female sexuality, they had made mention of the fight in the 1950’s to recognize the PAP smear as a potential lifesaving medical exam. Of course, history has shown this test to be quite effective, however, now and FDA panel is showing the PAP test the door, as it offers a new test that is more accurate since we now understand that the human papilloma virus has been shown to actually be the reason cervical cancer occurs in the first place.
An unnamed source had mentioned to me that most if not all cancers in the body are due to viruses and are treatable with methods approved for use in Germany, but virtually ignored here. His information was treated as heresy and he was jailed for his beliefs, which were based on results.
Are the methods being recommended by the FDA totally pure of internal politics, since there are other companies who are also developing tests for this problems? The NY Times reports.
F.D.A. Panel Recommends Replacement for the Pap Test
The Pap test, a ritual for women that has been the mainstay of cervical cancer prevention for 60 years, may be about to play a less crucial role.
A federal advisory committee recommended unanimously on Wednesday that a DNA test developed by Roche be approved for use as a primary screening tool.
“Has our Pap, as we know it, outlived its time?” Dr. Dorothy Rosenthal, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, testified to the committee, which advises the Food and Drug Administration. She said deaths from cervical cancer in the United States had stopped declining and that there would be “a tremendous gain” by moving to the new test.
The Roche test detects the DNA of human papillomavirus, or HPV, which causes almost all cases of cervical cancer. Pap testing involves examining a cervical sample under the microscope looking for abnormalities.
Until now HPV testing has been used mainly as a follow-up test when the Pap results were ambiguous, or used jointly with Pap testing.
Wednesday’s 13-to-0 vote — by a committee mainly of academic pathologists, microbiologists and gynecologists — would allow Roche’s test to be used alone as the initial test for women 25 and older.
The Pap test, which is well entrenched and has been highly successful, will not go away quickly, if at all, however.
Assuming the F.D.A. itself agrees with its advisory committee and approves the new use of Roche’s test, it would become just another option, not a replacement for the older testing regimens. And many doctors will not adopt the new test unless professional societies recommend it in guidelines, which could take years.