Benefits of Pap and HPV Co-Testing
Regular Pap tests and HPV screenings can help prevent cervical cancer. While many healthcare professionals perform these tests separately, they can be administered at the same time. This is called co-testing. If a woman’s healthcare provider does not suggest getting these two tests at the same time, she should ask them about it. To learn more about the benefits of Pap and HPV co-testing, talk to your doctor.
Identifying Risk Factors
HPV screenings and Pap tests look for two different things. The HPV test looks for the presence of the human papillomavirus. These screenings do not look for cancer, but rather viruses that could cause cells to become cancerous. If a dangerous virus is detected, it does not necessarily mean a woman is going to contract cancer. It just means her risk for developing cervical cancer is higher.
A Pap test looks for abnormal or precancerous cells. Unlike HPV screening, this test looks for cells that have already become cancerous and that are likely to develop into cancer rather than certain viruses. Undergoing two tests that look for different things can be very beneficial and offer a clearer picture of a woman’s health and potential for future conditions.
Screening at Different Ages
Women over the age of 21 can start getting regular Pap tests, while those over the age of 30 can get regular HPV screenings. While developing cervical cancer before the age of 30 is rare, it can happen. It is therefore important to receive testing regularly so your doctor can detect problems early on. Once a woman reaches the age of 30, she can then begin getting HPV screenings and Pap tests at the same time.
HPV and Pap tests can be uncomfortable for many patients. Women often dread having either of them done because they are somewhat invasive. Co-testing is easier for a woman as well as the laboratory analyzing her results. Simultaneous testing can help prevent backlogging at a lab and allow women to receive their results sooner.
Learn More About Co-Testing
If you need to get a Pap test or an HPV screening, call a healthcare provider in Florida today. A qualified physician can explain the benefits of getting both tests at the same time. Co-testing could be the first step to preventing and detecting cancer in its early stages, which is of utmost importance for future treatment. Call and book an appointment today to protect your health and your future.