As 98% of cervical cancer cases are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus, (HPV), it makes sense to treat and eradicate the virus before it causes abnormal changes in cells of the cervix which could later become cancerous.
A new study at the University of Manchester has shown that a simple self-sampled urine test can identify HPV and could be as effective as the NHS UK ‘smear test’ in identifying women most at risk of developing cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is most common in women aged between 30 and 35 years. Some 3,000 women in UK, 13,000 in USA and 570,000 are diagnosed globally each year.
The Manchester study results need to be clinically trialled to determine the sensitivity of the HPV urine test in the detection of cervical anomalies (CIN2+) when compared with standard cervical smear testing. However urine self-sampling appears to offer a more acceptable alternative for women who are reluctant to attend for standard cervical smear testing.
The low uptake of the free cervical cancer screening in UK is concerning health officials. although this could be remedied by the roll out of a simple urine test by the NHS.
Dr Emma Crosbie, who led the Manchester study, said “We think this study has the potential to significantly increase participation rates for cervical cancer screening.”
To quote Steve Brine, UK Public Health Minister, when he announced a new national cervical cancer screening campaign earlier this year, “It is a tragedy that women are needlessly dying of cancer when a simple test can identify risks early on.”
Cross-sectional study of HPV testing in self-sampled urine with matched vaginal and cervical samples
Modified cervical cancer screening test shows promise