Pap smears a must to protect against cervical cancer

October 19, 2012
Pap smears a must to protect against cervical cancer
PhD student Leanne Christie's research has brought to light some common and dangerous misconceptions about how cervical cancer is contracted.

(Medical Xpress)—An alarming number of women don't understand that the common sexually transmitted infection human papillomavirus (HPV) causes cervical cancer, a Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researcher has found.

QUT PhD researcher Leane Christie, from the Faculty of Health, interviewed more than 1200 Queensland women to find out what they knew about preventing cervical cancer.

She said the research brought to light some common and dangerous misconceptions.

"Ninety per cent of women interviewed believed that played a key role in the development of cervical cancer but in reality HPV is by far the most common cause," she said.

"Many women also didn't know that even if they had had one their entire life, they could still contract the infection."

She said there was a need for more education around HPV.

"HPV is as common as it is contagious - it's the common cold of sexual activity and it can cause cervical cancer," she said.

She said regular were essential to prevent cervical cancer and this was the case regardless of whether a woman had received the .

"The vaccine is one of the most significant achievements in modern medical science," Ms Christie said.

"Recent publicity around the National Program (NHPVP), which began in 2007, has improved public awareness of HPV, but the vaccine cannot protect women against all cancer producing HPV strains.

"The HPV vaccine protects women against the two most common and aggressive HPV strains but there are 20 others that can still cause cervical cancer."

Ms Christie said her research found many women did not realise that Pap smears were a powerful tool for prevention and not just for early detection of cancer.

"Regular Pap smears identify any before the cancer develops, enabling steps to be taken to prevent the cancer from forming," she said.

"We know this because since the National Cervical Screening Program was introduced 20 years ago, the rates of new cases and deaths from cervical cancer have more than halved," Ms Christie said.

"It is also clear that the majority (82 per cent) of women who get have not had regular Pap smears or have never been screened."

Ms Christie said current recommendations were for women to have a Pap smear every two years, starting from the age of 20 (if sexually active) until they reached the age of 70.

"I hope this research helps reduce the stigma around HPV being a sexually transmitted infection and promotes more women to have regular Pap smears," she said.

Explore further: Lack of clarity about HPV vaccine and the need for cervical cancer screening

Related Stories

Lack of clarity about HPV vaccine and the need for cervical cancer screening

July 7, 2011
The research will be presented today at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society of Academic Primary Care, hosted this year by the Academic Unit of Primary Health Care, University of Bristol.

Recommended for you

What does hair loss have to teach us about cancer metastasis?

December 15, 2017
Understanding how cancer cells are able to metastasize—migrate from the primary tumor to distant sites in the body—and developing therapies to inhibit this process are the focus of many laboratories around the country. ...

Cancer immunotherapy may work better in patients with specific genes

December 15, 2017
Cancer cells arise when DNA is mutated, and these cells should be recognized as "foreign" by the immune system. However, cancer cells have found ways to evade detection by the immune system.

Scientists pinpoint gene to blame for poorer survival rate in early-onset breast cancer patients

December 15, 2017
A new study led by scientists at the University of Southampton has found that inherited variation in a particular gene may be to blame for the lower survival rate of patients diagnosed with early-onset breast cancer.

Scientists unlock structure of mTOR, a key cancer cell signaling protein

December 14, 2017
Researchers in the Sloan Kettering Institute have solved the structure of an important signaling molecule in cancer cells. They used a new technology called cryo-EM to visualize the structure in three dimensions. The detailed ...

'Bet hedging' explains the efficacy of many combination cancer therapies

December 14, 2017
The efficacy of many FDA-approved cancer drug combinations is not due to synergistic interactions between drugs, but rather to a form of "bet hedging," according to a new study published by Harvard Medical School researchers ...

Liquid biopsy results differed substantially between two providers

December 14, 2017
Two Johns Hopkins prostate cancer researchers found significant disparities when they submitted identical patient samples to two different commercial liquid biopsy providers. Liquid biopsy is a new and noninvasive alternative ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Lantern5
1 / 5 (1) Oct 19, 2012
Instead of the usual test is very embarrassing that it would be better to design a device shaped glass cylinder filled inside with micro cameras and sensors, so ultrasound (emitters and sensors protrude from the edge lines of holes) even could design two apparatus: one internal glass microchambers, and the other a rubber cilindrode ultrasound sensors and sensors inside hardness. In both cases the patient follow the recorded instructions by a nurse on a computer and the patient herself would examination, thus avoiding the embarrassment of being touched by a stranger, in many cases, not all physicians have an ethical adequate in these respects.
If tomamaos note that all relatives have for women, we must understand the urgency of creating a self-exam.
Lantern5
1 / 5 (1) Oct 19, 2012
Other translation of the previous idea:
Instead of the usual test is very awkward, two devices would be better to design self-test: A tube-shaped glass cylinder filled with various kinds of sensors and microcameras inside. The other device would be a cylinder made of rubber. That cylinder would have holes through which small asomarían ultrasound emission devices that would create a highly detailed image of the inside of the vagina. In both cases the patient will follow the instructions of a computer, which recorded the data obtained appliances. This system will avoid the shame of having been touched by a extraño.En many cases, not all doctors are ethical enough in these respects.
Considering that we all have women in our families, we must understand the urgency of creating a self-examination.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.