Too many women skip their pap test and miss out on early cancer detection.
Going for a pap smear isn’t awful, but it isn’t a great experience. Many women avoid getting it done simply because it’s uncomfortable and can be awkward. According to the World Health Organization however, a smear is the only test done in large populations shown to reduce cervical cancer incidence and mortality.
A new study is contesting this. Researchers from the University of Manchester believe a urine test could be just as effective.
“Many younger women avoid the NHS cervical cancer screening programme because they find it embarrassing or uncomfortable, particularly if they have gynaecological conditions like endometriosis,” says the study’s lead author, Dr Emma Crosbie.
Detecting cervical cancer early is key to treating it in time, scientists say.
The illness has been found to be most common in women aged 30 to 35 years. Thankfully, the precancerous stage of the deadly disease is detectable as early as 5 to 10 years before this. The bad news is, up to a third of women fail to show up to their smear test, statistics show.
Campaigns encouraging women to attend cervical screenings have helped improve numbers, but the effects aren’t long lasting.
“We clearly need a more sustainable solution,” Crosbie comments.
Urine tests, which are easier to complete and provide more autonomy, proved promising in the study and researchers are looking forward to a trial with a greater number of women.
For more on this study, click here.