New guidelines in screening for cervical cancer include the option of HPV testing, a move that may soon signal the end for the Pap smear test.
Cervical cancer used to be a common cause of death among American women. Today, the American Cancer Society says, 13,000 American women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year — and 4,000 will die.
Incomplete screening is the most common reason.
But adding the HPV test to the screening guidelines improves a woman's options, says Dr. Matthew Carlson, an assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
"I think what we’re finding now is that testing for the HPV virus might be as good or better, and we may be setting the stage for just HPV testing down the road," Carlson said.