Pap smear tests are also referred as Pap test or smear test or cervical smear test, in which Pap smear is prepared by collecting cells from outer cervix opening of the uterus and endocervix. These cells are studied using a microscope so as to test them for the abnormalities present in them. This test detects potentially pre-cancerous changes (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia or cervical dysplasia), which are mainly caused due to various types of sexually transmitted HPVs. Thus, the test is widely utilized in the early detection of pre cancers and cervical cancers.
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Cervical cancers are one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among women. Almost each type of cervical cancers is caused due to the infection by one of the 12 types of oncogenic human papilloma viruses (HPV). These HPV viruses are sexually transmitted and can cause most of the anal cancers; many vulvar, vaginal and penile cancers; and some oropharyngeal cancers as well along with the cervical cancers. Pap smear tests and HPV tests are designed in such a way that they help in early detection of precancerous and cancerous processes of cervical cancers so as to avoid contracting those cancers.
HPV tests are also referred HPV DNA tests, which is mainly a follow up test for the abnormalities detected during the Pap smear tests. Presently, HPV DNA tests are mostly ordered along with the Pap smear tests, but can be utilized only for women between 30 to 65 years of age. Also, there are various HPV DNA tests available globally, where most of them are FDA approved for detecting high risk HPVs. Pap smear and HPV testing market can be classified into five major segments, namely, monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, immunoassays, molecular diagnostics, chromosomal analysis, and other analyses.
Major driving factors for the growth of this market include, increasing prevalence of cervical cancers, increasing demand for advanced cancer diagnostics, increasing awareness about technological advancements in cancer testing and aging population. The increasing prevalence of various sexually transmitted diseases, increase the chances of contracting cervical cancers and hence the need for these testing procedures. The growing demand for advanced cancer diagnostics and recent breakthroughs in cancer diagnosis and therapy, new specific antigen findings and findings related to genetic basis of cancers have further helped in the growth of this market. Increasing awareness among the global population about the benefits associated with these type of tests such as pre cancer detection have also led to the increased number of procedures for testing cervical cancers across the globe. Rising geriatric population will also add fuel this market, as they will further demand for more cancer assays and tests and hence will contribute towards the growth of this market in future.
Geographically, North America dominates the Pap smear and HPV testing market followed by Europe. Major factors responsible for the growth of this market in these regions were high awareness levels among the people of these regions about the disease as well as the testing procedures and associated benefits. However, Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing market for these tests due to increasing incidences of these cancers as well as increasing awareness about the disease and available tests and diagnostics.
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Some of the major players operating in this market are Abbott Laboratories, Inc., Ascon Medical Instruments Pvt. Ltd., Becton, Dickinson and Company, Beckman Coulter, Inc., Cardinal Health, Inc., Cooper Surgical, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Guided Therapeutics, Inc., Olympus Corporation, and Siemens Healthcare.
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