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Women should be offered home test kits for cervical cancer, study suggests

smear test embarrassment #darwen #lancashire 4

1:02am 6th December 2018

Women who don't attend cervical screening should be offered home test kits, a new study suggests.

The number of women in Lancashire, attending their smear test appointments, has dropped to 72.5% this year (down from 72.9%). 

Researchers have made the call regarding home test kits, after they found the tests provided similarly accurate results to those done in a clinic. They said that self-sampling is a generally more effective way of reaching women who do not regularly attend screening.

Last week, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust warned that the rate of women who attend cervical screening has fallen to a 21-year low in England.

The charity calculated that of the 4.46 million aged 25 to 64 who were invited for a test during 2017/18, 1.28 million women did not take up their invitation.

Authors conducted analysis on 25 trials which assessed uptake of home tests.

They found that mailing self-sample kits to the woman's home address generated higher response rates compared with an invitation or reminder letter asking them to attend an appointment. But when women had to opt in and personally request a self-sample kit, the response rates did not improve.

The authors said their findings could help health officials "increase population coverage substantially".

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