Detection of cervical cancer - DNA test better than ‘pap smear’ method

Haryana farmers welcome farm loan waiver  A decade-long research conducted by the Tata Memorial Hospital, and backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has reached a noteworthy conclusion with regard to detection of cervical cancer.

According to the study, genetic testing for human papilloma virus or HPV - by collecting DNA cells from the cervix - was a better method for detecting cervical cancer in comparison to the widely popular method called 'pap smear,' in which cells are collected from the surface of the cervix.

The research by Indian and international experts - hailed as "From India to the world - a better way to prevent cancer" - has been reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study included the analysis of nearly 1.3 lakh women in Osmanabad district, to hit upon a one-time mass screening test to curtail the numerous incidences of cervical cancer in India, which reports 20% of the cervical cancer cases of the world.

If the research reaches its logical conclusion, its results will be applicable globally and the HPV test might ultimately substitute the Pap smear as the key technique for cancer screening.

Drs. Mark Schiffman and Sholom Wacholder of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, said: "The implications of the findings of this trial are immediate and global: international experts in cervical-cancer prevention should now adapt HPV testing for widespread implementation."