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Would You Take A DIY Cervical Test?

16/03/2011 11:12 | Updated 22 May 2015

doctor-examination-cervical-screeningIf you avoid having cervical screening, a home test could be the answer. Photo: Getty

Let's face it, none of us look forward to that smear test invitation dropping on our doormats. And according to experts from Cancer Research UK, too many women ignore the opportunity to be screened for the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer - the most common form of cancer that affects women under 35 in the UK.

But if you had the opportunity to do the test in the comfort of your own home, would you take it?

Cancer Research UK researchers believe the availability of a home DIY smear test kit would help increase the take-up of cervical screening among women who don't currently go for the test when called.

The researchers carried out a study that involved 3,000 women from Westminster who had failed to go for their last two scheduled smear tests. Writing in the British Journal of Cancer, the researchers sent DIY HPV test kits to half the women, while the other half were sent another invitation to go for screening.

Out of the women who received the kits, 96 did the test at home while 57 booked an appointment at their local surgery or clinic. Out of those who were sent a reminder to go for their smear test, 68 responded.

"Home testing for HPV is as accurate as samples taken by doctors and can help address some of the reasons, like finding time or being embarrassed, that women often give as reasons for not attending screening," says lead researcher Dr Anne Szarewski.

Sounds like a good idea to us. What do you think?

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