PapSure for Cervical Cancer Screening
In the fight against cervical cancer, traditional Pap tests have significantly improved early detection of the disease. With a traditional Pap, a sampling of cervical cells is viewed under a microscope to spot cellular abnormalities, called dysplasia.
Now, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared a relatively new test, called PapSure, which – when used in conjunction with a Pap test– improves the efficacy of early detection even further.
With PapSure, the cervix is first washed with a mild vinegar solution. Next, an optical magnifier and a blue light, known as Speculite, are used to make any abnormal tissue appear bright white. With this method, approximately 50 percent of the abnormalities, called cervical dysplasia, that may have gone unnoticed in a traditional Pap test will become visible.
At the point of dysplasia, the cells are precancerous. But if left untreated, they can become cancerous, making it imperative to detect any abnormalities as early as possible.
PapSure does not replace traditional Pap tests. While each method is effective on its own, neither is 100 percent accurate. Rather, the two tests should be used to complement each other. With a traditional Pap test, nearly 15 percent of abnormal cells may go undetected, and PapSure can identify nearly half of those that were missed.
PapSure is not yet covered by most insurance plans, however, this important test only costs approximately $40.