You may have heard of the Pap test, but did you know there are two different versions? And while you might assume that your doctor is conducting the most thorough version possible, this isn’t always the case, according to a report on Yahoo Lifestyle.
The regular Pap test, as many know, checks for irregular cell activity inside the cervix, but the more thorough Pap and HPV co-test also looks for DNA from HPV cells on your cervix. When you have a Pap and HPV co-test, your doctor can simply collect all of these cells at once, maximizing the benefits, according to the report.
Women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, MD warns that “[n]ot every health provider is fully up on the latest data. But for women over 30 years old, this should definitely be an option in their doctor’s office.”
And taking charge of your health is definitely up to you: “You need to have this dialogue with your physician,” advises Electra Paskett, PhD, co-leader of the cancer control research program at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Using appropriate screening and [the Pap test in tandem with] the HPV vaccine is really the only way we can eradicate cervical cancer.”
Click here for more information on how to max out the benefits of your Pap test with the Pap and HPV co-test.