Detecting Cervical Cancer

Detecting Cervical Cancer—Pap smears & HPV Testing
Cervical cancer affects about 11,000 women in the U.S. annually.  Deaths from the cancer have been greatly reduced due to screening and early detection using the Pap test. The Pap test is a cytological (cell-based) test to microscopically examine cells scraped from the cervix to see if any abnormalities exist which would warrant further examination and testing.

Almost all cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI).  In most women, the virus is cleared by the body. However, the virus can persist and result in precancerous changes.

ACOG guidelines suggest that women over the age of 30 be co-tested for cytology (Pap test) and HPV.

Colposcopy is the examination of the woman’s cervix by a healthcare professional who will look for evidence of any tissue abnormalities.  If a lesion is detected, a biopsy may be taken to be further analyzed by trained pathologists who will examine it for evidence of cancer and other abnormalities.  Biopsies can be performed by a punch instrument or by a new device, called the SpiraBrushCx®.

Advantages of the SpiraBrushCx® for Cervical Biopsies
Pathology, Inc. was the first major anatomic pathology lab in California to offer the SpiraBrushCx®, an FDA approved alternative for cervical punch biopsy.

The SpiraBrushCx® offers many advantages to the patient and their physicians including:

  • Provides significantly less pain and bleeding1 with FDA claim of “less need for hemostasis”
  • Easy-to-use disposable tool
  • Specially designed brush head removes a full-thickness of transepithelial tissue sample for analysis in our Pathology, Inc. laboratory

1 Monk B.J., et al, Obstetrical Gynecology 2002, 100:1276-84
More information about the SpiraBrushCx ® (PDF)

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