The development of Pap test alternatives will save lives

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Pap tests are very effective for detecting cervical cancer, but many find the procedure uncomfortable

From EDEN WINNIFORD — [email protected]

Once someone with ovaries turns 21 in the US, it is recommended that they receive a routine cervical cancer screening, commonly known as the Pap smear, every three years. Regular pap tests to save thrives on detecting cervical cancer at an early stage, which is usually the case caused by HPV. Although Pap tests are important and effective, having a doctor completely undress and insert a swab into the vaginal canal and obtain a sample from the cervix can feel invasive and uncomfortable.

Some patients also don’t have a choice about when to have a Pap test. Medical providers can (and TU) hold back Birth control of patients overdue for their Pap smears, which robs people of reproductive autonomy and can make patients feel compelled to undergo the test if they are not mentally prepared. This practice ignores the fact that contraception is an essential medication for many. People should be able to make their own reproductive decisions no matter what, and using birth control as a bargaining chip is disrespectful to patients and their physical autonomy.

Pap tests can be uncomfortable for anyone, but they can be particularly annoying for them transgender Individuals, people who have Experienced sexual assault and people who a disability. body shame too discouraged prevent many people from getting regular Pap smears. From 2019, 23% of women were overdue for Pap tests, compared to 14% in 2009. Another study found just that 27% of transgender men who needed screening for cervical cancer had one in the past year. There are also people of color, people on low incomes, people from rural areas and people without health insurance restricted access to pap tests. The pap smear is very effective for detecting a treatable cancer, but many people still don’t get it.

However, there are alternatives to the pap smear and ways to reduce the risk of cervical cancer. The HPV vaccination is Effective while HPV transmission rates are falling – although only people with a cervix can get cervical cancer, anyone can transmit HPV and should get vaccinated. Some countries also have passed to use HPV testing for cervical cancer screening instead of the Pap smear, which can be done at hometown but also includes vaginal ones insert.

In addition, an alternative to the Pap test that does not require insertion is finally being explored. research The test, released in 2021, suggests that testing menstrual blood from sanitary napkins for high-risk HPV had a higher accuracy rate than the Pap test. Although doctors too tend To conduct physical exams in conjunction with the Pap test, the ability to submit menstrual samples by mail or on foot would give people more control over their bodies. It could also increase the number of people receiving life-saving HIV screening, especially for those uncomfortable with Pap tests.

There are better ways to encourage regular Pap tests than to hold a patient’s birth control hostage. Menstrual blood testing should be further researched, and US hospitals should offer at-home HPV testing as a more convenient alternative for their patients. The Pap test has already saved countless lives, but expanding treatment options will save even more.

Written by: Eden Winniford — [email protected]

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong solely to the columnists and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The California Aggie.

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