New DIY cervical screening kits could be on the way

New research has revealed that at-home DIY test kits could replace smear tests, and be just as effective at identifying cervical cancer.

When was the last time you had a cervical screening? You should be invited to have a smear test every three years. But for many women, a variety of reasons discourage them from going to their screening.

This could be down to fear, embarrassment, previous trauma, a bad experience at a past appointment, or simply being busy.


But, what if you could carry out a DIY test in the privacy of your own home, or do a quick and easy urine sample instead of taking a trip to the nurse?

New research has shown that this could be the future of testing for cervical cancer, after 600 women provided self-collected samples for screening. Women would be able to order tests online and then post them away to be analysed.

Though this method was declared feasible and popular at the NCRI cancer conference in Glasgow, larger trials may still be needed before being rolled out to the public.

Even if these methods did become available, the current method of a nurses exam would most likely continue to be available, to ensure women have as many different options as possible to get screened.


The announcement comes after it was revealed that one in four women don’t attend their cervical screening when invited.

Though the new proposed methods are not up to the same level of accuracy as current screening, they have been deemed “pretty accurate” by experts, and are expected to improve with further testing and research.

It is unlikely that DIY tests and urine samples will become available in the imminent future, however it is a promising move that would enable more women to catch the signs of cancer quickly, before they become urgent.

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