(CBS SF) — A new method to screen for cervical cancer that would allow women to skip the much-dreaded Pap smear has not yet gained universal acceptance and has instead created a debate over which screening method is preferable.
Last month the Food and Drug Administration approved a DNA test for human papillomavirus (HPV) for women 25 and older. HPV infection is the primary cause of cervical cancer.
The belief is that by detecting presence of HPV, doctors can screen more effectively for the cancer.
The invasive Pap smear procedure involves scraping cells of the outer cervix, then viewing them under a microscope to detect precancerous or cancerous cells.
The Pap smear is credited with a 50 percent drop in cases of cervical cancer in the U.S. over the last 30 years, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynocologists (ACOG).
The maker of the HPV test, Roche Molecular Diagnostics, told National…
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