More accurate testing for cervical cancer found: Study

A woman reading a poster on cervical cancer.
A woman reading a poster on cervical cancer. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - Testing for cervical cancer is more accurate when combining a Pap smear and the HPV (human papillomavirus) DNA test, a study by Singapore General Hospital (SGH) has found.

Based on 1,900 women above 25 who underwent this co-testing between November 2013 and August 2014, the detection rate for cervical cancer increased from 70 per cent - when doing a Pap smear only - to 100 per cent - when doing co-testing.

A Pap smear screens for the presence of pre-cancerous and cancerous cells on the cervix, but is not 100 per cent accurate.

On its own, the HPV test screens for the viruses, but does not indicate whether these viruses cause cervical cancer.

Around 5,000 women have opted for co-testing at SGH since it was introduced at the hospital in November 2013.

Cervical cancer is the 10th most common cancer among women in Singapore, with 201 cases reported every year.