30.12.2019 change 30.12.2019

Free Cancer Tests To Detect Early Signs Being Offered To Women

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Up to 33,000 women aged 30–59 are to be tested as part of a pilot study to compare the effectiveness of pre-cancer detection by standard cytology and molecular assessment of high-risk HPV.

Dr. Andrzej Nowakowski, head of the Department of Cancer Prevention at the Maria Skłodowska-Curie Institute of Oncology which is carrying out the tests, said: "Cytology remains the standard for screening for precancerous conditions of cervical cancer.

“We want to test a new tool that can be even more effective.”

As part of the pilot programme, patients are randomly assigned to one of two groups. Women in the first group have standard thin-film cytology, in the second - a molecular test, which can be used to detect the presence of high-risk (oncogenic) human papilloma virus (HPV).

Dr Nowakowski said: ”We have known since the 1980s that the reason for the development of cervical cancer and many other cancers in other locations is the HPV virus.”

He added that the main advantage of molecular tests detecting oncogenic HPV strains is their high sensitivity. In several countries traditional cytological examination has been replaced by such tests. For now, this method is more expensive, while the collection of material for testing is the same as in standard cytological diagnostics: a cervical swab taken with a special brush.

The latest data from the National Cancer Registry shows that in 2017, the National Cancer Registry recorded 165,000 new cases of malignant in Poland, and 99.6 thousand deaths from these diseases.

In Poland, almost 1.08 million people live with the diagnosis of cancer made in the last 15 years, while 515 thousand people were diagnosed with oncological disease in the last five years.

"The older a person is, the greater the risk of developing cancer," said Dr. Joanna Didkowska, head of the Department of Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention at the Maria Skłodowska-Curie Institute of Oncology.

According to Didkowska, the number of cancers detected in men decreased for the first time compared to the previous year, which probably results from a decrease in the number of both lung cancer deaths and new cases in Poland.

But she added that an increase in the number of cancer cases and deaths in Polish women, and in lung cancer in particular, was particularly worrying.

Insured women aged 30–59 who have not had cytology as part of the universal cervical cancer screening programme can apply to participate in this pilot programme.

The tests are free; more information can be obtained by calling 0048 22 546 25 77 or 0048 22 546 31 03.

The pilot programme, carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and the National Health Fund, will continue until the end of 2021.

(PAP)

Justyna Wojteczek

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