The Pap smear tests for cervical cancer in women, but there is no formal screening test available for HPV throat cancer, for women or men. When the HPV virus is present in the throat, it lodges itself in the deep crevices of the throat area. Unlike the cervix, the throat’s “crypts” are difficult area to reach. Even if doctors are able to use long swabs in an attempt to reach the affected area, doctors say it is difficult to scrape the tissue in question and get a valid sample.
Researchers are currently looking for ways to develop a formal screening test for HPV throat cancer. Until they do, awareness of early symptoms of throat cancer is essential: a lump in the throat, a lingering sore throat, and difficulty swallowing.
Latest news from the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), could eventually help scientists develop a HPV oral cancer screening tool:
NIH scientists find promising biomarker for predicting HPV-related oropharynx cancer
VIDEO | TESTING FOR HPV THROAT CANCER
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