Beyond the Pap

What you should know about a new gene test that could someday replace the Pap smear

For more than 50 years, a regular Pap test has been a woman's best defense against cervical cancer. By taking tissue samples from the cervix--the "neck," or outer opening, of the uterus--a doctor can usually tell that something is wrong before the cancer has a chance to fully develop or spread. Now researchers are eyeing a new gene-based test that they believe is better than the Pap test at identifying precancerous and malignant changes in the cervix--and could even replace it. But don't cancel your next gynecologic exam just yet. A lot more work needs to be done before the new...

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