Research informs new national cervical cancer screening recommendation
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IMAGE: This is Dr. Joy Melnikow, M.D., MPH. view more 

Credit: UC Davis Health

A comprehensive analysis of eight clinical trials and four cohort studies on cervical cancer screening by researchers from UC Davis and Kaiser Permanente Northwest has found that while Pap smears are still highly effective for detecting pre-cancerous cells and cancer, testing for the virus that causes these cancers also is an excellent screening tool.

The findings, published August 21 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), were used to inform the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which published its updated recommendation on cervical cancer screening in the same issue of the journal. The Task Force is an independent panel of experts that makes evidence-based recommendations on disease prevention. The Task Force also provides an annual report to Congress on the evidence base for clinical preventive services and recommends priority areas that deserve further examination.

The research was led by Joy Melnikow, director of the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research, a family and community medicine physician and expert on evidence-based cancer screening.

The systematic review found that in the first round of screening, testing for high-risk viral types of human papillomavirus

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