An end to smear tests? Home urine kit could detect cervical cancerRuth Mabhiza
Researchers say a self-sample urine test, carried out at home, identifies changes in DNA caused by the human papillomavirus.
The test identifies changes in DNA caused by HPV
Smear tests may soon be a thing of the past thanks to a breakthrough that could allow women to check their risk of developing cervical cancer without needing to visit the doctor.
Researchers say a simple self-sample urine test may soon be a viable screening method, having developed a way to identify potentially dangerous pre-cancerous cells by analysing urine and vaginal samples.
Women could easily collect the samples needed in the comfort of their own home, making the smear test obsolete and likely boosting participation in cervical screening programmes that many would otherwise dread.
Traditional smear tests involve a speculum being inserted into the vagina
Earlier this year, the government launched its first ever campaign to encourage women to attend their cervical smear tests after figures revealed more were skipping the screenings than at any point in the last two decades.
The tests – which can detect the early signs of cervical cancer before the “abnormal cells” become cancerous – are free on the NHS for all women aged between 25 and 64, but many are too nervous to attend.