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'HPV best' for cervical screen

Testing for human papilloma virus should become the main method of screening for cervical cancer with cytology only offered for women who test positive, claim leaders of a study published in The Lancet.

Professor Jack Cuzick and fellow researchers from Cancer Research UK found HPV testing was more sensitive than borderline or worse cytology (97 compared with 77 per cent) but less specific (93 compared with 96 per cent) in detecting malignant cells.

They studied 11,000 women aged 30-60 from 161 GP practices over three years.

NICE plans a liquid-based cytology screening, which can be used for HPV tests.

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