Cervical cancer self-tests may be key smear alternative – study

(Nicola Davis/ The Guardian) — Swabs or urine samples taken at home could be as effective at identifying women at high risk of cervical cancer as traditional smear tests, according to new research.

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women globally. In the UK, women aged between 25 and 64 are invited for cervical screening every three years.

While cervical screening can save lives, many women find having a clinician take a swab of their cervix unpleasant, embarrassing or are worried it will hurt, with recent figures from Public Health England (PHE) revealing a quarter of women do not attend their appointment.

At present, swabs are carried out by medical professionals to see if there are any abnormal cells in the cervix, which would mean a referral for further investigation. Sometimes, if the changes are borderline, the sample is also tested for types of human papilloma virus (HPV) that are high risk for cervical cancer. (…)

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