The new cobas HPV test can detect cervical cancer more effectively than a Pap smear, according to a new study.

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The way your gyno checks for HPV may soon change because the FDA has approved a new HPV DNA test for women 25 and older that can detect cervical cancer without a Pap smear.

It’s the latest breakthrough for the cobas HPV test, which recently received a unanimous recommendation by the FDA Microbiology Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee. The new testing method is important because it safely detects high-risk types of HPV that have the highest rate of leading to or indicating cervical cancer.

The cobas HPV test is considered a gynecological breakthrough because it is effective in detecting cancer-causing HPV that Pap tests can miss. A 2011 ATHENA study found that 10 percent of women had normal Pap tests, but the cobas HPV test came back positive for high-risk cervical disease.

“In our study, a Pap test by itself missed almost half of women with high-grade cervical cancer,” says Thomas Wright, M.D., a co-author of the study. “The HPV test detected over 90 percent of it.”

While the new HPV DNA test is certainly a new innovation to be celebrated, those who are weary of the latest medical technology need not worry. The FDA approval simply means that women will have a third option at the doctor’s office.

Noelle Chehab is the Junior Editor of Spa Week Daily. 

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