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Could self-testing kits save women?

21-27 January is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, to highlight the role of biomedical science in analysing cervical cancer and HPV, the IBMS spoke to members Allan Wilson and Kirstie Rice

Despite the publicity surrounding Jade Goody’s death in 2009, cervical cancer screening attendance is at a 21 year low and preventable deaths are still occurring across the UK. However, new approaches to boost attendance are being trialled by NHS Trusts, including a new cervical cancer self-testing kit which allows women to conduct their own screening in private.  

Every year, it is estimated that more than 800 women die from cervical cancer in the UK. Almost all cervical cancer cases are caused by Human papilloma virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection. What starts as an abnormal growth of cells along the cervix can become cancerous and can kill if left ignored and untreated.