Scientists Offer New Test to Improve Cervical Cancer Detection
Ever since organized screening for cervical cancer was introduced in Sweden in the 1960s, there has been a significant fall in the number of women succumbing to the disease. However, despite the smear tests, still about 250 women in Sweden die of the disease each year.
A latest method of minimizing the missed cases developed by researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, gives hope to further making the diagnosis more reliable and cutting down the deaths caused by cervical cancer even more.
Despite the intensive screening, that detects early cell changes so that they can be treated before they cause cancer, about 500 patients each year still go on to develop the disease, medical Xpress reports.
The low sensitivity of the current test, demands the cells to be taken for screening at least once in every three years. Many a tests also need to be repeated due to unreliable results, which causes anxiety in patients and additional costs for the health service, the report says.
The researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg have apparently come up with a complementary test capable of minimizing the number of missed cancer cases.
"Around 70 per cent of all cervical cancer cases are caused by two specific virus types, known as HPV16 and HPV18. We have developed a method that identifies proteins of these oncogenic viruses in cells, enabling a more objective interpretation of the test results," explains Maria Lidqvist, a doctoral student, who presents the method in her thesis.
"This method can hopefully produce a more reliable diagnosis in uncertain cases and reduce the number of missed cancer cases, as well as the number of women who have to be re-called because of cell samples that are difficult to interpret."
The research behind this method has been financed by the Swedish Research Council and conducted at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, in collaboration with Fujirebio Diagnostics AB in Gothenburg.