The National Cancer Institute defines cervical cancer as the cancer that forms in the tissues of the cervix. According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, each year approximately 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States.
August 16 is observed as the national day for cervical cancer screening. Also observed as a day for colorectal and breast cancers, the day reminds women to get on-time screening to prevent this disease. Persistent infection with human papillomavirus is the principal cause of cervical cancer in women. However this gynecological cancer is preventable with regular screening. Cervical cancer screening can detect early cell changes in the cervix caused by persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
The traditional test for early detection has been the Pap test. While the Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for pre-cancers, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer, HPV test looks for the virus (human papillomavirus) that can cause these cell changes. Co-testing for human papilloma virus (HPV) and Pap testing for cervical cancer every 5 years for women aged 30-65 years is recommended in the U.S.
Now tests for HPV are available that can be used with the Pap test in women starting at 30 years of age. Earlier, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved the Roche Cobas HPV test to detect the human papillomavirus (HPV) in women 25 and older. The test which identifies women at highest risk for developing cervical cancer will also help physicians make early, more accurate decisions about patient care, which may prevent many women from developing this deadly disease. It specifically identifies types HPV 16 and HPV 18 while concurrently detecting the other high risk types. Roche Diagnostics is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics.