Many women delay or avoid going to their GP for cervical smears because of embarrassment or, more recently, concerns or difficulties in accessing healthcare during the Covid-19 pandemic. NHS England is posting 31 000 home self-sampling kits to women in London in an attempt to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer. The tests, piloted through the King’s College London as part of the YouScreen study, will be sent to women aged 25-64 who are more than 15months overdue with their cervical smear. Evidence suggests that cervical smear non-attenders are at highest risk of developing cancer.
99% of women are expected to be able to perform this lower vaginal swab test satisfactorily. The completed test is posted back and, if positive for HPV, women will be invited to their GP practice for a standard cervical smear. It is expected that successful conduct within this study could lead to national rollout of self-sampling.