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I love my gyn. He's a very personable and respectful geek.

I went for a Pap smear today, and his office is using a new test in addition to the traditional slide preparation. It's called PapSure and it's a speculoscopic exam. Insurance doesn't cover it, so it cost me $40 to get it in addition to the Pap smear.

I asked him why he was using it, and he said that for many years scientists have been trying to figure out why Pap smears don't detect 20 percent of cervical cancers, no matter how often they are performed. Apparently it's been discovered is that some of the viruses that cause cervical cancer change cells under the skin rather than on the skin, and these abnormal cells don't get sampled during a Pap smear. The speculoscopy detects this kind of abnormal cell.

I also asked him about the cervical cancer / HPV vaccine that is being developed. He said that there are 9 kinds of HPV that can cause cervical cancer, and the vaccine addresses only the most aggressive kind. But once the vaccine for that kind is finished, it will be easier to develop vaccines for the rest of them. He predicted that vaccination would be able to prevent against all the kinds of HPV in around 20 years.

So maybe I can look forward to an old age free of @#$#$@ Pap smears.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 26th, 2005 11:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this info. (And I'm with you on fervently wishing for a lack of pap smears, but NOT through the expediency of not having a cervix, thankyouverymuch!)
Apr. 26th, 2005 11:26 pm (UTC)
Yes, I'm kind of attached to what's left of my cervix.
Apr. 26th, 2005 11:38 pm (UTC)
So, what will this vaccine do for someone who already has one kind or another of HPV? (Speaking as someone who had HPV, then Stage 0 cervical cancer and a cone biopsy to successfully remove it.)

I wonder if Kaiser is anywhere near being able to offer PapSure.
Apr. 27th, 2005 12:12 am (UTC)
I have no idea. I'm in the same boat myself. Lately I've been hearing that HPV clears itself out of the body within a few months, contrary to previous assertions that it sticks around for years.
Apr. 27th, 2005 03:58 am (UTC)
God, nobody really knows shit about this thing, do they?

It'd be SO nice not to have to have any more !&@*#*#$& pap smears!
Apr. 27th, 2005 08:11 am (UTC)
When I heard about this, I wondered did it mean that Linnea will never need to have one done. That would be amazingly good.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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