Here was the headline that was in the New England Journal of Medicine article that both Jodie and Dr. Savard mentioned: HPV Test More Accurate than Pap in Detecting Cervical Cancer. Annual Pap Smear May Eventually Give Way to Once Every Three Year HPV Test.
So, Dr. Savard, the American Cancer Society often is the arbiter of this. Insurance companies watch and we all watch what the ACS recommends. Where are they now with people having Pap smears and also the HPV test?
The American Cancer Society, before this study, so their most recent guidelines reflect before this even stronger evidence than we had before. What they clearly say is either have a regular Pap test; they prefer the liquid-base Pap, which most doctors are doing now that is a better look at the cells; or another option would be to ask your doctor to do the HPV test. So, the American Cancer Society in the past said it's an option. Either get that regular every year or two Pap test, preferably the liquid, or get the HPV test along with the Pap, and then you can just do it every three years. So that's what they've recommended in the past. Their editorial comments after the New England Journal of Medicine article is shifting a bit, and they're suggesting and agreeing that we may see a time in the foreseeable future where perhaps women will be getting the HPV test, ages 30 and over, and that will become the primary test, and the Pap test will be done along with it. Actually, in some countries they're really doing and studying the idea of just doing the HPV test alone and only following up the women who test positive with the Pap smear. So, stay tuned. I think the standards will change, but what is 100% certain today, if you're 30 and over, asking for the combination will give you the greatest peace of mind ,the greatest assurance, and do the most to potentially save your life.