Bringing awareness to cervical cancer

Posted at 7:48 PM, Jan 14, 2013
and last updated 2014-06-18 11:54:02-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)-- More than 12, 000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year and almost a third of those women will die from it. That's according to the National Cancer Institute.

But hundreds more may go undiagnosed because of screening guidelines.

The test which is called BD Surepath was actually approved for pap tests but not for HPV testing by the FDA.

The result: women may be told they are HPV-free when in fact, they aren't, according to USA Today.

“It would scare me because when we go in to do our physicals and get these type of exams we're hopeful that it discloses all of these ailments that we have,” said Tallahassee resident Juanita Ellis.

Ellis says she's shocked to find out that a test that's been used for years to detect HPV may be inaccurate.

The latest findings are also surprising and unsettling for Dr. Jamell Walker at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

“I can tell you this is one of the first time that I’ve actually heard that,” said Dr. Walker.

Dr. Walker at TMH says her practice screens women with the Surepath test now in question but they also use a separate HPV test.

She says patients are encouraged to have both tests done and should take screening very seriously.

“HPV has been shown to be the virus which causes cervical cancer,” she said.

Dr. Walker says the best way to stay healthy: educate yourself and get tested on a regular basis. She says you should start getting your gynecological exam at 21. We tried reaching out to BD, the maker of Surepath but have yet to get a response