A recent study from the NEJM showed that a DNA test outperformed the Pap smear in reducing deaths from cervical cancer.
This has tremendous implications worldwide, where cervical cancer continues to be a significant cause of death. Not only is the DNA test effective, it’s also inexpensive, costing around $5.
Pap smears take a longer time to result, and have to be read by a pathologist. On the other hand, while still needing a cervical sample via a pelvic exam, the DNA test can be read by a machine.
Furthermore, the DNA test can be done once every 3 to 10 years, instead of the current guidelines which call for more frequent Pap smears.
And now comes the kicker: Will doctors change their behavior for something that’s clearly more effective and less expensive? I’ll repost in 5 years and let you know.