By now, we all know about the human papilloma virus (HPV), the nasty little STD that has been linked to cervical cancer.
Generally, a woman discovers she has HPV after she checks herself into the gyno for her annual pap smear. I won’t go into too much detail, but basically, a pap smear is when your good ole gyno scrapes the inside of your cervix for cells, examines them under a microscope and checks for abnormalities. If your test shows abnormal cells, the chance that you have precancerous lesions in your cervix is actually pretty high.
However, a Dutch study revealed that a new way to test for HPV – a DNA test – can detect abnormalities earlier than a pap smear. The DNA test is also more sensitive and detects more lesions than the pap.
What does this mean for you? Basically, if abnormalities are detected in your cervix sooner, doctors can treat precancerous lesion earlier – which means that your chances of developing full-blown cervical cancer decrease.
So please – if you haven’t already – schedule a doctor’s appointment, ask to be tested for HPV and consider the HPV vaccine. And check out the full article about the study here.