With the advent of the Pap Smear, we have seen cervical cancer rates drop dramatically in the developed world. Traditional pap smears collect a sample of cells from a woman’s cervix and these are examined for any abnormalities. It has long been known that the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) causes pre-cancer cells and cervical cancer. In the last 12 years or so, medicine has included additional HPV testing with the Pap Smear to screen for cervical cancer.
Now, new guidelines say testing for HPV alone could become the primary and only test for cervical cancer screening.