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Smear tests replaced by DIY home kit?

A non-invasive urine test could be used by women to detect their risk of developing cervical cancer without the need to visit the doctor.

A trial in 600 women showed that the home test was able to identify those with pre-cancerous lesions, meaning those women requiring treatment could be pinpointed faster. In addition, the “self-sampling” test is likely to improve participation in cervical screening programmes if made widely available.

The study “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”, said Manuel Rodriguez-Justo, a consultant pathologist at University College London.

However, a note of caution was struck by Cancer Research UK, which funded the research, and said self-collected urine or vaginal samples are “not ready to be rolled out just yet”. Some reports suggested it might be another three years before such tests are available.

Image credit | Science Photo Library

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