Oncology Central

Communicating the changes to cervical cancer screening in England: the choice to have an HPV test

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Scientific understanding of the role of human papillomavirus (HPV) in cervical cancer increased dramatically through the 1990s. The last 7 years have seen the introduction of HPV vaccination for young women in many developed countries. In parallel, the potential for HPV testing to improve current cervical screening practices is being explored. Primary HPV testing in the cervical screening context involves testing the cervical sample for the presence of HPV DNA. Many studies have shown that compared with cytology, HPV testing has improved sensitivity for detecting high-grade disease [1]. HPV-based screening would therefore detect precancerous lesions that would have progressed sooner than cytology.

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