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Panel Faults Virus Test to Spot Cervical Cancer

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An influential federal health-care task force is expected to oppose testing for the human papillomavirus to detect cervical cancer in women over age 30, according to an analysis released Monday.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which recently took a high-profile stand against certain uses of screening tests for prostate cancer, is expected to make its recommendations about cervical cancer this week.

Some forms of the virus, known as HPV, can lead to cervical cancer. The virus's presence can be common among teens and women in their early 20s, but then it decreases with age. Doctors have increasingly used the test for women over age 30 because a negative result indicates she has a lower risk of developing cervical cancer.

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