UC Davis CHPR-Led Research Informs New National Cervical Cancer Screening Recommendation
A comprehensive analysis of eight clinical trials and four cohort studies on cervical cancer screening by researchers from UC Davis and Kaiser Permanente Northwest has found that while Pap smears are still highly effective for detecting pre-cancerous cells and cancer, testing for the virus that causes these cancers also is an excellent screening tool.
The research was led by Joy Melnikow, director of the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), a family and community medicine physician and expert on evidence-based cancer screening.
The findings, published August 21 in the Journal of the American Medical Association(JAMA), were used to inform the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which published its updated recommendation on cervical cancer screeningin the same issue of the journal. The Task Force is an independent panel of experts that makes evidence-based recommendations on disease prevention. The Task Force also provides an annual report to Congress on the evidence base for clinical preventive services and recommends priority areas that deserve further examination.
"Our work demonstrated that there is now strong evidence for the effectiveness of high-risk HPV testing used alone as a cervical cancer screening test," said Melnikow.
Melnikow added that researchers found that regular screening with any method will lead to lower cervical cancer rates. "In the U.S., where most women are not part of an organized screening program, our biggest challenge is reaching women who have not been screened," she said.
More information about specific findings from this research are posted in the UC Davis Health Newsroom.