KING-TV 5 interviewed Dr. Rachel Winer on a clinical trial published last week that examined the effectiveness of two different screenings for cervical cancer. Across 19,000 participants, researchers found that testing for HPV detected pre-cancers earlier and more accurately than a standard pap smear. Winer is an associate professor of epidemiology and part of the HPV Research Group at UW Medicine.
Winer told KING-TV that women in their 20s will still need to rely on the pap smear since HPV is so prevalent in this demographic. But, she said the research is exciting for another reason. "You can look at the incremental benefit of different types of strategies among women who are coming in for screening, but the reality is that most cervical cancers are diagnosed in women who have either never been screened for cervical cancer or are not compliant with recommended screening intervals.”
Winer said she hopes this study will pave the way for women to test themselves at home — no doctor’s appointment required. She said women would collect their own sample and mail it to a doctor or a lab for analysis. This could help single mothers and people in underserved communities access a procedure that’s critical for women’s health.