There could soon be an alternative to the smear test.
Scientists in Britain have found urine tests can accurately screen for Human Papilloma virus which causes almost all cases of cervical cancer.
Research suggests that a quick urine test could offer women a less invasive alternative to the smear test. Scientists assessed two different commonly used HPV testing kits comparing if they picked up early signs of cervical cancer in the urine of 104 women. 18 of the women had precancerous changes to the cervix which needed treatment. They used a kit made by Roche and 15 of the cases were detected in a urine sample. Which was the same result as for vaginal self samples and cervical smears.
Using another kit made by Abbott the same amount of cases were picked up with a urine sample. Compared with 16 cases with self samples and smears. The study leader Dr. Emma Crosbie said the results from the study were exciting but it would need to be tested on more women before it can be rolled out across the NHS.
The Eve Appeal Charity said the research was a promising early step. But in the meantime, women must book their smear screening when they are called.
Smear test attendance in Britain is at an all-time low nearly five million women are overdue for screening. Official statistics reveal that nearly a third are at risk because they have gone several years without a smear test. Women aged between 25 and 49 are invited for screening every three years. And women aged 50 to 64 are invited every five years.