Cervical Cancer Diagnostics
The following describes screening methods for detecting cervical cancer. For specific information regarding your health and treatment options, please contact your Hurley physician or medical professional.
Getting screened for cervical cancer truly can save your life.
Every year, more than 10,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer, and nearly 4,000 die of the disease. Most of these deaths could be prevented if all women got recommended screening. Most guidelines suggest starting screening at age 21, and some recommend starting within three years of becoming sexually active, or no later than age 21.
Pap test: During this test, a physician collects cells from the cervix (the narrow opening of the uterus) and sends the sample to a lab to be examined for abnormalities. A Pap test can detect abnormal cells in the cervix. This is the precancerous stage, when the abnormal cells (dysplasia) exist only in the outer layer of the cervix and have not invaded deeper tissues. If untreated, the abnormal cells may convert to cancer cells, which may spread to other parts of the body. Cancer or precancerous conditions that are caught at this stage are rarely life-threatening and typically need only outpatient treatment.
HPV DNA test: Like the Pap test, the HPV DNA test involves collecting cells from the cervix for lab testing. This test determines whether a woman is infected with any of the 13 types of HPV that are most likely to lead to cervical cancer. It can detect high-risk strains of HPV in cell DNA before changes to the cells of the cervix can be seen. The HPV DNA test is not a substitute for regular Pap screening, and it is not used to screen women younger than 30 with normal Pap results.