For Immediate Release
Executive Director, American Society of Cytopathology
REGULAR PAP TESTS ARE BEST DEFENSE AGAINST CERVICAL CANCER
American Society of Cytopathology to HPV Vaccine Advocates: Emphasize Need for Regular Pap Tests Regardless of Women’s Vaccination Status
Wilmington, Del. – March 19, 2007 - The American Society of Cytopathology today urged clinicians, women’s health advocates and government leaders to remind constituents of the continued need for regular Pap testing regardless of a woman’s vaccination status. In a call to action posted on its Web site, members of the Society expressed concern that this important message was being increasingly omitted from public discussion about the new vaccine. The Society urges HPV vaccine advocates to more aggressively communicate this important message to eliminate the potential for confusion among women.
Cervical cancer is nearly 100 percent curable if detected early. It is estimated that in 2007, about 11,150 cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 3,670 women will die from the disease. Studies consistently show that the vast majority of women who die from cervical cancer did not receive regular Pap testing. In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first vaccine for cervical cancer. The vaccine is intended for girls and young women aged 9-26 for the prevention of cervical cancer and genital warts caused by certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes most cervical cancers. However, the vaccine protects against strains that are responsible for only 70% of cervical cancer, and its long-term safety and efficacy is unknown. Therefore, all women must continue to seek routine gynecological care and regular Pap testing as directed by their doctor.
“While the new HPV vaccine is a very exciting development in women’s health, it does not eliminate the need for regular Pap testing,” said Dr. Mary Sidawy, ASC President “Regular Pap testing is the gold standard for cervical cancer prevention: It’s broadly accessible, inexpensive and backed by nearly 70 years of science. We urge all who are championing the adoption of the HPV vaccine to clearly and aggressively remind women of the need for regular Pap testing to safeguard their health.”
About the American Society of Cytopathology (ASC)
The ASC is a distinguished national professional society of physicians, cytotechnologists and scientists who are dedicated to the detection and early diagnosis of cancer. The ASC is the largest medical society solely devoted to recognizing cellular abnormalities in order to benefit patients. The ASC’s diverse membership of more than 3000 individuals shares a vision of education, research and continuous improvement in the standards and quality of patient care. For additional information on ASC please visit, www.cytopathology.org.
For more information on HPV and the HPV Vaccine, please click here.