Viewer Question:What is the HPV test for cancer of the cervix?
Doctor's Response:The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March, 1999 approved a DNA-based test for the human papillomavirus (HPV) which plays a role in cervical cancer.
The HPV test can detect about 90-95% of cervical cancer cases, according to Digene, the company that manufactures the test.
The HPV test is not likely to replace the Pap smear as a screening test for cervical cancer. The HPV test is designed as a followup test to the Pap smear.
The high degree of accuracy of the HPV test, it is hoped, may reduce over-treatment of women with suspicious Pap smears due to conditions other than cancer of the cervix.
Last Editorial Review: 7/7/2004