A papilloma virus infection often plays out without symptoms, but can lead to infertility and even cervical cancer if undetected for a prolonged period of time.
Cervical cancer is almost always sparked by an infection with the papilloma virus. Aside from the respective vaccination, which women are recommended to do at a young age, regular testing can help detect the virus in due time.
Every day, gynaecologists from across the Grand Duchy send 600 to 800 smear tests to the National Health Laboratory (LNS). The samples are not automatically tested for the papilloma virus, however, only if lab assistants detect anomalies in the respective sample, explains Dr Marc Fischer, head of the LNS gynaecology department. Practitioners can also request that a test be completed out of precaution.
The test thus offers additional safety to patients given that the early detection of the papilloma virus can help reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer.
Dr Fischer further noted that the health sector has long-term benefits from regular testing, as it helps avoid costly cancer treatments. Individual samples only cost €25, noted the LNS official. Testing them for the papilloma virus costs €50, which the National Health Fund (CNS) reimburses.
If a cell change is detected in a sample, researchers take further samples to determine whether or not malignant cells have spread. If that is not the case, patients are safe but still advised to continue with regular testing.