9 November 2010
By Michelle Roberts Health reporter, BBC News
Women would need far fewer smears if the NHS switched to a new way of screening for cervical cancer, a Cancer Research UK scientist has said.
Good uptake of the HPV vaccine that can prevent the cancer means we can now start to move away from conventional testing, said Professor Peter Sasieni.
Girls who have already had the jab would only need the new type of smear test twice in their lifetime, he said.
Unvaccinated women would halve their number of checks from 12 to six.
Professor Sasieni, a Cancer Research UK scientist at Queen Mary, University of London, has advised the NHS screening programme in the past about how to improve screening and his recommendation to change the age range of women invited for screening was adopted.
The professor, who presented his predictions at the National Cancer Research Institute conference in Liverpool, is now urging the government to consider making HPV testing the main method of cervical screening.
Currently, women are invited for a conventional smear test that takes a sample of cells from the cervix to be examined under a microscope in the lab to check for early warning signs of cancer.
(Note from SaneVax: What happened to the package insert instructions, that indicate HPV vaccination does NOT eliminate the need for pap screening at the regularly recommended intervals? Does the professor also recommend that HPV testing is not adequate unless DNA sequencing is performed on HPV infected samples? One needs to proceed with extreme caution when accepting this advice in the article above at face value.)