Pap tests may be unpleasant (read: the worst) but in the future, they could be the best way to detect gynecologic cancers.
Currently, pap tests are used to detect human papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer. But a new study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine says the routine test could also detect endometrial and ovarian cancers.
Not only would this mean detection’it would mean early detection, which is crucial for survival rates.
According to Health Canada, ‘Women with ovarian cancer, who have been diagnosed at stage 1 of the disease have excellent survival rates.’
While that sounds like great news, it’s rare that women are actually diagnosed in the early stages.
‘A large portion of ovarian cancer cases can not be explained by known risk factors. Therefore there are no specific screening recommendations or prevention strategies for this type of cancer.’
Thanks to this study, maybe there soon will be.
‘Although improvements need to be made before applying this test in a routine clinical manner, it represents a promising step toward a broadly applicable screening methodology for the early detection of gynecologic malignancies,’ the study’s authors wrote.
How often do you go for a routine pap test? Would you be more inclined to go knowing there’s potential for early detection of three types of cancers?
-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor