Is There a Test for HPV that Leads to Cervical Cancer?

Last Editorial Review: 1/11/2018

Ask the experts

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.

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