The NHS will offer DIY smear test kits as part of a trial to increase the number of women having cervical cancer screenings.
The news comes as this week marks 10 years since Jade Goody died from cervical cancer.
In light of this, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has called on the government to offer home-testing kits to women for free, so that they can diagnose HPV – which causes 99% of cervical cancer cases – as soon as possible.
NHS health bosses announced that they are going to trial the at-home tests across parts of England.
It was first suggested back in December, but has since been confirmed.
While tests are available to buy on a range of websites including Superdrug, these tests will help women who cannot afford that, but would rather test in their own homes.
The tests will be sent in the post, in hopes that they will increase the falling numbers of women having cervical cancer screenings.
Jade’s death prompted the ‘Jade Goody Effect’, with a drastic increase of women getting their smears done.
However, the numbers have been dropping in recent years.
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By the end of March last year, less than three quarters of women who were eligible for smear tests had been screened.
Professor Sir Mike Richards, an oncologist and former national cancer director in the UK Government’s Department of Health, told the Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday that the prospect of self-testing shows ‘great promise’.
Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, added that self-testing could lead to an increase in women getting tested for HPV, all from the comfort of their own home.
He said that countries that already offer self-testing, including Australia and Denmark, have seen ‘fantastic results’, as more cancers have been ‘prevented or diagnosed at an early stage’, noting that offering these tests could be a ‘game changer’, especially for those who find the idea of screening daunting for physical or psychological reasons.
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Anne Mackie, director of screening at Public Health England, said in a statement that the organisation has asked the UK National Screening Committee to ‘consider the merits’ of offering at-home smear tests for women.
She said: ‘Work is also under way between PHE and academics at University College London and King’s College London to evaluate the feasibility of using these kits.
‘Any women using kits bought at pharmacies should take their results and discuss these with their GP.’Advertisement
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Source : https://metro.co.uk/2019/03/22/nhs-announces-it-will-offer-women-free-diy-at-home-smear-tests-8986991/