It could be dangerous to use antiviral treatments or therapeutic vaccines with women whose lesions already show signs of HPV integration
A new understanding of the genetic process that can lead to cervical cancer may help improve diagnosis of potentially dangerous lesions for some women, and also raises a warning flag about the use of anti-viral therapies in certain cases – suggesting they could actually trigger the cancer they are trying to cure.
More than 99% of cases of cervical cancer are caused by the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV). Doctors say that because the new HPV tests find abnormalities – and increased risk of cancer – at an earlier stage, most women will be able to undergo smear tests far less often, after receiving a negative result.
” We’ve been doing the HPV test in our office for about 7 years,” said Dr. Jay Staub, ” and I’ve actually have negative paps for 5 to 7 to 10 years in a row and had an HPV test that was positive and actually had cervical cancer. So, I think we’re headed in that direction. We just don’t have the data yet. I think we’re going to see studies that indicate that the HPV test is probably more accurate as a primary screen. “