Psst! Cervical Cancer Test Might Become Even Easier

A DIY home test may be on the horizon

Scientist in Scotland are testing DIY home tests for cervical cancer screening. The BBC reports:

Scientists at Queen Mary University of London asked 600 women to provide self-collected samples for screening. Although larger trials are needed, the work has been called “promising” and a potential “game-changer” by charities. […]

Dr Nedjai said the self-sampling was “pretty accurate”, but was not as quite as effective as the UK’s current smear testing programme. “It will be soon. With improvement we’ll get there,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.


In the UK, about 25%, or 1 out of 4 women, don’t go for testing when they are invited to do so.

Maybe you’ve received a letter in the mail recently from Cancer Care Ontario recently inviting you to get screened. I’ve received two of those letters. Did I go? Not yet. Booking an appointment is a pain. I mean… not a huge pain but enough that people (like me!) just don’t bother.

Home test could really help more people to be tested and, theoretically, help save more lives.

In the mean time, we shouldn’t put off getting the currently available Pap test.

From Cancer Care Ontario:

The dramatic decline since the 1980s in the rate at which Ontario women develop and die from cervical cancer is almost entirely due to Pap testing and screening.

A Pap test is a simple screening test that can detect cell changes in the cervix that may lead to cancer before women feel any symptoms.

The Ontario Cervical Screening Program recommends that women who are or have been sexually active have a Pap test every 3 years starting at age 21. Regular screening should continue until at least age 70 or when advised by a doctor or nurse practitioner to stop. Pap tests can stop at the age of 70 if a woman has had 3 or more normal tests in the previous 10 years.


While I figured I don’t need the test because, for one thing, I had the HPV vaccination, it turns out I should probably get tested.

From Cancer Care Ontario again:

Women ages 21 to 69 need to get cervical screening even if they:

  • feel healthy and have no symptoms

  • are no longer sexually active

  • have only had 1 sexual partner

  • are in a same-sex relationship

  • have been through menopause

  • have no family history of cervical cancer

  • have received the HPV vaccine