JU Assistant Professor of Nursing Dr. Hilary Morgan, an instructor in Jacksonville University’s Family Nurse Practitioner Program and a certified nurse midwife, discusses new guidelines related to pap tests in this month’s Florida Times-Union feature “Nursed to Health.”
The new recommendations call for a greater time interval between pap tests that varies from three to five years, Morgan notes, after new findings that cervical cancer, which is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), is a very slow-growing cancer.
Here’s an excerpt from the article that appeared in the H section on Wednesday, Sept. 25:
Pap tests, which look for cell changes on the cervix that might become cancer, have become one of the most common health screening procedures in the United States. They are responsible for a 50 percent decrease in cervical cancer mortality over the past 30 years. This year alone, the American Cancer Society estimates 12,000 new cases and more than 4,000 deaths from cervical cancer.
But scientists today also realize that young women exposed to the HPV virus can often clear the virus from their bodies naturally. However, as women age, some strains of HPV can persist, and it is these strains that may lead to cervical cancer. Continued screening is still a must, however not as frequently or started as early as in the past.
Additionally, new pap cytology methods are able to identify if HPV strains are present on a pap test, even with a normal smear. Depending on the patient, the health care provider may order a pap test with or without co-HPV testing.
Morgan also relates two recent cases handled by JU Family Nurse Practitioner students and faculty involving women who requested pap tests.
To read the entire feature, click here.
Nursed to Health is an occasional feature in which Jacksonville University School of Nursing faculty discuss symptoms, diagnoses and treatments based on composites of patient cases handled by instructors, students and alumni of JU’s local training programs. Names and specific medical information have been changed to protect private health information, and any similarity is coincidental. For more information about JU’s School of Nursing, visit www.ju.edu/nursing. Readers with specific questions regarding their own health concerns should seek the advice of their health care provider.