Cervical cancer: the HPV test recommended to women over 30

For these women, the test is more effective and more reliable than cytological examination.

Every year, 3,000 women are affected by cervical cancer. For several years, screening has been organized in France to detect the disease as soon as possible. Women aged 25 to 65 must perform a Pap smear at regular intervals. Since Thursday, July 11, the guidelines of the High Authority of Health (HAS) have been changed: the organization now recommends to focus on HPV smear test in women over 30 years.

# Press release | HAS offers governments a national cervical cancer screening strategy including the #HPV test
This test is recommended for women over 30 who are more effective than cytological examination
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- High Health Authority (@HAS_sante) July 11, 2019

Screening: an effective prevention tool

80% of men and women are infected once in their lifetime with human papillomavirus (HPV). In most cases, the infection disappears without complication. For others, it can cause cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, 90% of cases of cervical cancer could be prevented through screening.

The HPV test is more effective for women over 30

Since 2010, the HAS recommends that all women aged 25 to 65 be screened regularly. The examination takes the form of a smear, which is used to collect cells from the cervix to then analyze their morphology and detect pre-cancerous lesions. Thursday, July 11, the screening recommendations have changed: for women over 30 years, the HPV test is preferred in first intention. The latter is also performed through cervical uterine sampling but it can measure the presence of HPV, especially the forms associated with a high risk of cancer. Unlike the cytological examination, every three years, the HPV test can be performed every 5 years.

"In about 20 to 30% of cases, the smear will not detect precancerous lesions," says Dr. Joseph Monsonego, a gynecologist and member of the HPV Now Collective.The HPV test is not unaware of a precancerous lesion in more than 99% of cases. case". In young women, these findings are not valid because the peak of infection with papillomavirus is around 25 years: now, all forms of the virus do not cause cancerous lesions and some infections disappear naturally. For women under 30 years, the HAS suggests to maintain the cytological examination.

Towards self-screening?

The organization's proposals go further for women in their thirties: some of them could use the self-test if they are far from medical facilities or are not screened regularly. Kits make it possible to carry out vaginal sampling yourself. These recommendations must now be reviewed by the Ministry of Health, which will decide whether or not to change the organization of screening.

Video: Frequently Asked Questions about HPV Testing (January 2020).