Smear tests could be replaced by at-home urine testing kits in 'promising' medical breakthrough
5 November 2019, 14:02
Smear tests could soon be a thing of the past for some women thanks to a potential new alternative that would allow women to test themselves at home
A DIY testing kit could provide an alternative to smear tests in detecting early signs of cervical cancer in women, experts have claimed.
The at-home kit, which would test the urine of the user, would not require a visit to the doctor.
It is being developed by scientists at Queen Mary University, London, who asked 600 women to provide self-collected samples for screening.
The results of this has been 'promising', although larger trials are needed - and it has been labelled a 'game-changer- by charities.
The findings were presented at the NCRI cancer conference in Glasgow, and have suggested that the method is popular.
If the test is proved to be viable and do end up being offered on the NHS, they will only be one option - as smear tests will still continue in their current form.
However, women would be able to choose whether to order the testing kit to do themselves at home and send it off for testing.
Smear tests aim to detect precancerous cells, and ultimately prevent cervical cancer.
Anyone with a cervix aged between 25 and 64 is invited to attend their smear test, but the number attending has been falling over the years - and around 25 per cent of women do not attend when invited.
Dr Manuel Rodriguez-Justo, from University College London, said: "This is exciting research that shows it's possible to detect cervical pre-cancer that is at high risk of developing into invasive cancer in urine and vaginal samples collected by women in the comfort and privacy of their own homes.
"This has the potential to revolutionise the way a positive HPV test is followed up, as well as making it easier for women in countries with no cervical cancer screening programme to be tested."