A new test to detect a virus linked to cervical cancer could improve screening for the disease and save lives and money. The test for the human papilloma virus (HPV) given in addition to the normal Pap smear test could improve the detection rate of abnormal cells in women over 34 years old. Virtually all cases of cervical cancer are positive for HPV. By testing for the presence of the virus, the detection of cervical disease is improved and there is the potential to save even more lives than with the current screening program.The test could also be used to detect borderline cases when the Pap smear results are not conclusive or to reduce the frequency of tests for healthy women.
COMMENT: Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women. If the disease is detected early, before it has spread beyond the cervix, 95 percent of cases are curable. It would be nice to have additional diagnostic tools to screen for this disease. There are nutritional interventions one can employ if cervical cancer is present. That would be high doses of folic acid and injections of B12 into the cervix. Dr. Wright in Washington has had a fair amount of success with this approach. I do not do it in my practice as I refer most of these cases to a local natural gynecologist who uses similar techniques.