The American Society of Clinical Oncology has presented studies that provide good and not so encouraging news for women and men regarding several of the deadly cancers that affect reproductive organs.
Researchers say that the good news for women is the increasingly routine testing for the virus HPV, which can also predict slow-growing cervical cancer risk more efficiently than a Pap smear in women over 30. The human papillomavirus, which causes most cases of cervical cancer, is easily detected by HPV tests. Plus, the Associated Press report says that, women “who test negative on both [the HPV and Pap smear] can safely wait three years to be screened again.”
During the trial by the National Cancer Institute, more than 330,000 women got HPV and Pap tests over a five-year period at Kaiser Permanente Northern California. The tests revealed that only about three out of 100,000 women annually developed cervical cancer after negative Pap and HPV tests.
For Black men, who suffer disproportionately from prostate cancer, there is a need to know who among the group has a greater likelihood of having the disease. A new study published by researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and Lund University in Sweden reports that “a single PSA blood test at ages 44 to 50 might help predict a man's risk of developing advanced prostate cancer or dying of it up to 30 years later."
Their are two positives of the test. The first is that it will inform men with low risk that they might not have to retest for five years. "They're identifying a group of guys who don't need to be screened, or need to be screened less often," said Dr. Otis Brawley, the African-American physician who is the cancer society's chief medical officer.
The second is that men in the high risk category will know that they should pay closer attention.
In April 2011, BET.com reported on Tuskegee University's study of prostate cancer in Black men.
For women concerned about ovarian cancer screening the news about testing is not as upbeat. There are several issues, one is that women suffer pain when they are screened by an ultrasound device. In addition, the test has historically created many false positives, which leads to unneeded surgery and sometimes attendant grave complications.