Pap smears could be thing of the past

March 13, 2014 3:32:48 AM PDT
Pap tests, used to detect cervical cancer in women, may be replaced with a different test after a panel from the Food and Drug Administration made the suggestion Wednesday.

The New York Times reports that the test, which has been around for 60 years, would be replaced with the Roche test, a DNA test that detects the human papillomavirus. HPV causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer in women.

Now, HPV tests are only used as a follow-up to an abnormal Pap test or in conjunction with Pap smears.

In Wednesday's vote, experts voted 13-0 to move forward with the replacement in women age 25 and older.

"Has our Pap, as we know it, outlived its time?" Dr. Dorothy Rosenthal, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, said to the committee on Wednesday.

Rosenthal told the group that if doctors moved to the test, the number of deaths from cervical cancer could go on the decline.

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