A new home test for the virus that causes cervical cancer has been launched.
The kit, called Tampap Test, involves taking a sample which is sent to a lab for testing to determine whether a woman has contracted human papilloma virus, or HPV.
HPV is the most common cause of cervical cancer in the UK, affecting some 2,800 women a year and killing 1,000.
High-risk HPV strains present no symptoms, and the test is meant to serve as an ‘early warning indicator’, the manufacturer said.
The sample is collected with a tampon, and results are returned within two weeks, according to the test manufacturer.
A positive test result indicates the presence of a strain of HPV that may lead to cell changes in the cervix, which could lead to cancer.
Because the body’s immune system often naturally clears the virus, women who receive a positive test should re-test one year later to see if the virus is still present, the makers said.
This test is not meant to be used as an alternative to the standard three-year pap test.
The NHS runs cervical cancer screening for women aged 20 to 65, with those aged 25 to 49 tested every three years and those aged 50 to 64 tested every five years. Patients are recalled if the smear appears abnormal.
Richard Winder, deputy director of NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, said attending scheduled NHS screening tests remained the most effective strategy for preventing cervical cancer.