Human papillomavirus (HPV) tests are less likely to miss cases of precancerous cervical changes, yet they lead to more unnecessary referrals, according to a Cochrane review of 40 studies involving more than 140,000 women. Among the findings:
- For every 1,000 women screened, around 20 will have precancerous changes.
- The HPV test will correctly identify 16 and miss 4 of these women.
- The Pap test will identify 12 and miss 8 women.
- For every 1,000 women screened, 980 will not have precancerous changes.
- The HPV test will correctly identify 879 women, but 101 will be incorrectly told that they have a lesion.
- The Pap test will correctly identify 951 women, but 29 will be incorrectly told that they have a lesion.
Koliopoulos G, Nyaga V, Santesso N, et al. Cytology versus HPV testing for cervical cancer screening in the general population. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2017, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD008587. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD008587.pub2.
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