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Smear tests: Women to trial 'do-it-at-home' kits for NHS

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About 31,000 women in London are being offered "do-it-at-home" tests to check for early warnings of cervical cancer, as part of an NHS trial.

It could be a way to encourage more women to get screened, experts hope.

Embarrassment, cultural barriers and worries about Covid, along with many other factors, can stop women going for smear tests at a clinic or GP surgery.

Smear-test delays during the pandemic prompted calls for home-screening kits from cervical cancer charities. The swabbing involves using a long, thin cotton bud to take a sample from inside the vagina, which is then sent by post for testing.

If the results reveal an infection called human papillomavirus (HPV) they will be invited to their GP for a standard smear test to closely examine the cells of their cervix.

Dr Anita Lim, from King's College London, who is leading the YouScreen trial, said: "Women who don't come for regular screening are at the highest risk of developing cervical cancer.

"So it is crucial that we find ways like this to make screening easier and protect women from what is a largely preventable cancer. Self-sampling is a game-changer."

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Source: BBC News, 24 February 2021

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