NIH: HPV test beats Pap for cancer assessment

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The National Institutes of Health released the results of a study Friday that showed a negative Human Papillomavirus test result was more accurate than a negative Pap smear result when it comes to assessing future risk, meaning “women who test negative on the HPV test have an extremely low risk of developing cervical cancer.”

The NIH explains that whereas HPV tests seek out the DNA and RNA (smaller picture) of the virus that is associated with just about every type of cervical cancer, Pap smears identify abnormal cells (bigger picture) associated with cervical cancer.

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