SIDEBAR: Expect Questions from Your Patients

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The study of concurrent HPV and Pap testing for cervical cancer was widely reported even before the recent ASCO Annual Meeting. In an interview with The ASCO Post, Barnett Kramer, MD, was asked how physicians can respond to questions about the study from patients.

“You can tell a woman over the age of 30 that if she is HPV-negative, she has an exceedingly low chance of developing a serious cervical abnormality over the next 3 years, and it is okay to screen her again in 3 years,” Dr. Kramer replied.

“There is virtually one cause of cervical cancer, and that is HPV infection with a carcinogenic strain,” he explained. “So if you are HPV-negative, you are not infected with the cause of cervical cancer, and it is extremely unlikely—even if you do get infected subsequently—that an abnormality and cancer would develop within 3 years and be missed. If you are not infected with a carcinogenic strain of HPV, then the chances that you would get infected and develop a serious cervical abnormality are extremely low within the next 3 years,” he said.

The study results are “reassuring,” he added. “You can reassure a woman that based on a negative HPV, it is extremely safe to go 3 years” before the next test. ■

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Results of a large-scale cervical cancer screening study using concurrent human papillomavirus (HPV) and Pap testing should “reassure” women over 30 who test negative for HPV and have normal Pap tests that “it is extremely safe to go 3 years” before being tested again, Barnett S. Kramer, MD, MPH,...




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