Home cancer test could aid detection

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ALLOWING women to test themselves at home for an infection which causes cervical cancer could boost detection rates, experts have said.

A study found that by sending out kits to test for the human papilloma virus (HPV) it would increase the number screened.

Persuading women in the Lothians to come forward for such testing is proving a challenge for health chiefs, with many citing embarrassment or a hectic working life as reasons they cannot set aside time.

Researchers also concluded that carrying out two tests in quick succession would lead to a more accurate picture, and could lead to a reduction in unnecessary testing.

Sara Hiom, director of health information at Cancer Research UK, said: “This study provides valuable additional data which can help inform improvements in the cervical screening programme – especially when screening will be increasingly taken up by women who have been vaccinated against HPV.

“It’s important that we reduce the number of women going through unnecessary procedures so that we can minimise any associated anxiety.”