Could a genetic test displace the tried and true Pap smear?

Global News

WASHINGTON – A high-tech screening tool for cervical cancer is facing pushback from more than a dozen patient groups, who warn that the genetic test could displace a simpler, cheaper and more established mainstay of women’s health: the Pap smear.

The new test from Roche uses DNA to detect the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer. While such technology has been available for years, Roche now wants the FDA to approve its test as a first-choice option for cervical cancer screening, bypassing the decades-old Pap test.

But a number of women’s groups – including the American Medical Women’s Association and Our Bodies Ourselves – warn that moving to a DNA-based testing model would be a “radical shift” in medical practice that could lead to confusion, higher costs and overtreatment.

READ MORE: How Ontario’s new health care changes affect patients

“It replaces a safe and…

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