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Pap smear vs DNA test

Posted Apr 17 2009 12:30am

The New York Times reported on the discussion that is going on about Pap smears versus DNA tests. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has found that a single DNA screening is better than multiple Pap tests in "preventing advanced cancer and death".

If you're a reader in the U.S. you're probably used to having a Pap annually and started having them as a teenager. Since 1987 the American Cancer Society and the American College of Ob and Gyns recommended Pap smears only every three years after initial negative ones. In 2002, they recommended the HPV test too. I know my tests have always been negative and I've had testing much more often than every three years.

Here's a personal question, how often do you have a Pap? Is your doctor following the recommended guidelines or are they more like mine? How would you feel about giving up your annual Pap? I mean no one looks forward to the appointment but there is a sense of security that comes from the negative report most of us get. Would a blood test give you that same sense of security? What if the blood test were only performed every three, five or even ten years?


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