NHS Scotland to introduce more accurate test for cervical cancer

Written by Jenni Davidson on 11 August 2017 in News

The new test will check for the human papilloma virus as well as cell abnormalities

NHS Scotland is to introduce a more accurate test for cervical cancer.  

Women between the ages of 25 and 64 who are offered a smear test will in future also be checked for human papilloma virus (HPV) – something that has been strongly linked to the cancer.

This follows recommendations from the UK National Screening Committee (UKNSC).

The new test is expected to be available within the Scottish Cervical Screening Programme by 2019-20.

Robert Music, Chief Executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “HPV testing as the primary cervical screening method has been shown to have a higher detection rate than the current screening programme.

“This provides a more reliable indicator of women who may be at greater risk of cervical cancer.

“It is positive to see the NHS in Scotland following advice from the UKNSC and changing to this more effective test which will reduce incidence of cervical cancer in Scotland and save lives.”

Gregor McNie from Cancer Research UK said: “It’s a huge step forward that the Scottish Government is now introducing a first line HPV test to improve cervical screening.

“Testing first for the human papilloma virus will help prevent more cervical cancers, as it can pick up the cancer-causing infection before any abnormalities could develop in the cells.

“The need for improvements to the cervical screening programme was set out in the Scottish Government’s cancer strategy published last year, so it’s good to see progress being made.”

Health Secretary, Shona Robison: “I am pleased to announce that investment from our Cancer Strategy will be used to introduce this new test, which will help ensure the early signs of cervical cancer are identified and treated earlier.”

More than 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and over 890 die of it in the UK each year.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under the age of 35 and incidence has increased 22 per cent over the last decade.

Treatment as a result of screening prevents 8 out of 10 cervical cancers from developing and saves around 5,000 lives in the UK every year.

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