Pap Smear Alternative Receives FDA Approval

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Pap Smear Alternative Receives FDA Approval

New option uses DNA-based tools to detect HPV

It’s not often we get excited about gynecological news, but yesterday the FDA approved “cobas,” the first HPV DNA test for women 25 and older. The alternative screening option has been around since 2011, but only as a follow-up to or in conjunction with the standard Pap test. The FDA’s approval expands usage of the test to be a primary cervical cancer-screening test.

The makers of cobas say DNA testing is more accurate than the Pap smear, and the new test can provide information about a patient’s risk for developing cervical cancer in the future. There’s no word yet on cost, and we’ll—with our gynecologist’s help—have to determine which test works best for us. But we love having options, especially ones that could help lower our death rate from cervical cancer. Of the 2,000 black women diagnosed with the disease each year, 40 percent of us will die from it.

Kendra Lee