New study into the prevention of cervical cancer is deemed 'incredibly exciting' by medical professionals...
Screening for a virus linked to cervical cancer could protect up to 70% more women from contracting the disease, a new study has found.
Trials showed that testing for the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is found in 99% of cervical cancer cases, would be better protection than the conventional smear test.
Professor Julietta Patnick, director of NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, has hailed the results as ‘incredibly exciting’.
She explained: “The relationship between HPV and cervical cancer has long been established, with the virus being found in over 99 per cent of cervical cancer cases.
“The new study suggests that by using HPV for primary screening we could protect 60-70 per cent more women from cervical cancer than the current method.”
European cancer experts published the findings in The Lancet medial journal, after four trials were carried out on women ages between 20-64.
The study followed 175,000 women over six-and-a-half yeas in England, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands.
Case studies were divided into two groups, with one taking regular smear tests and the other being given the test for HPV.
Similar cancer rates continued for the initial two-and-a-half year period, but, from then on, fewer sufferers were found from the group having had the HPV screening.
Professor Patnick is now recommending women over 30 are tested for HPV every five years.
From there she suggests women who are found to have the virus be selected for a follow up smear test and referred for cervical examination.
“Until now, there have been no direct estimated of the relative efficacy of HPV-based versus cell-based screening for prevention of invasive cancer in women who undergo regular screening,” says Dr Guglielmo Ronco, from the Centre for Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention, in Italy.
Adding: “Our analysis shows that HPV-based screening appears to prevent more invasive cervical cancers than does cell-screening.”
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