Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable and treatable cancers in women if detected early. But it’s asymptomatic in the early stages of the disease, which makes timely diagnosis and treatment difficult. But all that could change with a revolutionary new test. The test based on epigenetics has led to 100 percent detection of cancers in more than 15 thousand women in a screening trial conducted by the Queen Mary University of London. The test is said to have performed “significantly better” than PAP smear test and the Human Papillomavirus test. Human Papillomavirus (HPV): Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of the Most Common Sexually Transmitted Infection That Can Lead to Cancer.
The lead researcher of the study Attila Lorincz who founded the first HPV test in 1988 spoke highly about the accuracy of the new test. The study also uncovered the role of epigenetics in the development of cancer, using data from cervical cancer patients. According to Lorincz, the test works by picking up any chemical changes in the genes.
The new test is superior to the traditional HPV test and Pap smears, which can only detect 50 percent of the precancerous cells in the cervix. It also identifies women’s risks of developing cancer, which the others can’t.
The researchers were themselves surprised by the efficiency of the test, which can help predict cervical cancers years in advance, including ones that evade detection.
What Is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is one of the commonest forms of cancers in women, which is also highly treatable and preventable. It refers to the tumours that grow in the cervix or the lower end of the womb. Screening through tests like pap smears helps detect abnormal cell changes in the cervix. The HPV vaccine, which guards against the human papillomavirus, can reduce the risk of the disease in women. HPV Virus Causes 99% of Cervical Cancers! Is HPV Test More Accurate Than Pap Smear in Cancer Screening?
One of the biggest causes of cervical cancer is HPV. Women with compromised immune systems, due to medication or smoking, have the highest risk of the disease.
It takes years for abnormal cells to develop inside the cervix and lead to cervical cancer. Once they become cancerous, symptoms such as abnormal bleeding after sex, periods or menopause; foul-smelling vaginal discharge; pelvic and abdominal pain; and pain during urination.
Unfortunately, once the symptoms start showing, the disease may have already reached an advanced stage.