Ensure your doctor doesn’t use a faulty cancer test

Paula Wolfson, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Questions have been raised about a specific brand of test kit used to check for the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which causes cervical cancer.

These kits contain a preservative called BD SurePath, which may be producing false negatives, reports the Arizona Republic.

The FDA warned laboratories over the summer not to use these faulty kits to screen for HPV, but they are still approved for Pap tests, and in some cases, are still being used for both screenings.

WTOP did a random check of 10 medical practices in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia, and found none have been supplied with BD SurePath by local laboratories.

The brand of choice in the Washington area appears to be a test called ThinPrep, which is approved by the FDA for both Pap and HPV screenings.

Bob Ortega, the Arizona Republic reporter who broke the story, tells WTOP that women need to talk to their physicians about screenings for HPV.

“Ask the doctors if the HPV test they are using is FDA-approved for that purpose. That is the simplest thing you can do,” he says.

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(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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