HPV test will aid early detection of cervical cancer
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I was extremely pleased to read an article over the past few days that an additional test for detecting HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) has been introduced alongside the standard smear test to help with the early detection of cervical cancer.
It has been clinically proven that there is a link between carrying the HPV virus and cervical cancer; specifically that the virus contributes to this type of cancer. Having the virus does not automatically mean that the person has or will have cervical cancer but the detection of the virus will ensure that they are closely monitored for any additional abnormalities as they are at a higher risk.
A negative test result for the HPV virus will place women in a low risk group and they will remain in the routine screening schedule. Women found positive for HPV, and where abnormal cells were also found in a smear test, will be referred for further investigation and treatment where necessary.
Public Health Minister for England; Jane Ellison said: "These changes are a breakthrough in the way we test women for cervical disease. The new test is more accurate, more personal and will reduce anxiety among women.
"Cervical screening currently saves 4,500 lives a year, and this new test will ensure the early signs are spotted and treated earlier."
This new programme will cover women aged 25 to 64; where those of age 25 to 49 receive invitations every three years and women age 50 to 64 every five years. Additionally all girls aged 12 to 13 are offered HPV vaccination as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme. The vaccine protects against cervical cancer.
This seems to be a very welcome change in screening for cervical cancer. HPV screening has been so far introduced in England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are also considering introducing the additional HPV test.
BL Claims Solicitors have supported clients who have been misdiagnosed or suffered a delay in diagnosis of cervical cancer. We know how devastating this diagnosis can be. Our clients tell us that what they find so difficult to come to terms with is the feeling that they did all they could to enable the early detection of cervical cancer by attending screenings when invited. We hope that the additional test will change the way the screening results are assessed and that the anticipated additional 600 cases per year will be detected much earlier.
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