Dr Oz, HPV, COBAS, & Pap Smear Tests – How Often To Be Checked

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Dr. Oz Talks About COBAS, HPV, and Pap Smear Tests in Cervical Cancer Prevention

Today’s (August 20, 2013) show Dr. Oz talked about HPV (Human papillomavirus) and how 80% of adults will contract this virus by the time that they reach age 50.  In an accompanying segment Dr. Oz talks about if Cervarix & Gardasil HPV vaccines are effective against cancers associated with HPV.  During this segment Dr. Oz talks about HPV, COBAS, and Pap Smear tests and how often that you should be screened for cancers like cervical, anal, and oral cancers.

How Often Should You Get A Pap Smear?

Dr. Oz invited Dr. Diane Harper on to the show to talk about pap smear and HPV tests and the time frame in which you should be tested.

Pap smears are not a fool proof test in detecting cervical cancer.  HPV and/or cervical cancer can be present but not detected if it is located above or below the areas that were swabbed in the pap smear.

Dr. Oz asked Dr. Diane Harper spoke about how often that pap smears tests should be performed.  Dr. Harper said that developing cervical cancer typically takes between 3-5 years.  She said that annual pap smears may be more than you need. However, you should still have Pap smears performed regularly to check for precancerous cells that could be forming.  Dr. Harper said that she feels that a pap test taken every 3 years should be sufficient.  She then went on to say that if you also have an HPV test performed along with a pap smear you could have the test performed every 5 years. You should still have annual gynecologist exams & checkups performed annually.

COBAS, HPV & Pap Tests

Dr. Jennifer Ashton was on to the show to talk about HPV testing and what is available for women.  She explained to Dr. Oz and the viewers that the COBAS test is a very useful test that you can have done.  She said that a COBAS test is a pap smear + testing for several different kinds of common HPV taken in one sample.  She said that prevention and early detection is very important and feels that these kinds of tests should be the the standard practice.

The Difference Between HPV Tests & Pap Smears

HPV tests will check the DNA of a cell for cancer causing strains of the Human Papillomavirus.  A pap smear checks for abnormalities of cells from the cervix. A pap smear and HPV test are two different types of test for early detection and cancer prevention but they both complement each other.  You should have them both performed for even greater protection.

Dr. Oz said that if you over over 30 years old (up until the age of 65) you should ask your doctor to have an HPV test performed in conjunction with your pap smear. If both tests come back normal you can space your testing out for up to 5 years. However, testing is different from annual gyno exams.  Dr. Ashtons aid that you should still have gynecologist exams performed every year.Are There HPV Tests For Men?A woman from Dr. Oz’s audience asked if a man could be tested for HPV.  Dr. Diane Harper said that currently there aren’t any effective testing methods for men.  She said that it is not easily detected but new research is currently being done so hopefully there will be testing available in the future.

Dr Oz: Can a Man Be Tested for HPV?

Another woman in the audience was diagnosed with HPV at age 18. Now that she has two sons entering college, she wondered whether men can be tested as well. Dr Harper said there is no current method for testing men for HPV. It’s not easily detectable right now, though testing methods are being researched.

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