DIY cervical tests can encourage thousands of women to be screened for cancer, a major study suggests.
Sending women home packages turned out to be more effective than asking them to come to the clinic for a smear.
In a trial with 20,000 women who often missed their screening appointment, a quarter of them used a package to their home.
For comparison, only 17 percent of those who sent another reminder letter to book a smear arranged a visit.
Research from the University of Washington comes as the number of lubrication tests has dropped to a low point in 21 years in Britain.
And it follows another major study earlier this week, which suggested that a simple urine test or a vaginal fluid stick could replace the smear test.
Both findings are expected to increase pressure on health leaders to roll out cervical cancer self-sampling tests. They have already been sent to people over 60 to test for colon cancer.
Experts welcomed the findings and said that self-sampling kits have a & # 39; huge impact & # 39; could have on screening rates.
Home tests sent to women by mail turned out to be more effective than asking women to come to the clinic for a smear. (stock)
Millions of women ignore invitation letters because they think smears are painful or painful. They can also just forget or have trouble finding the time.
Home kits can easily be returned in a prepaid envelope and collected with urine or a cotton swab. Women may find them less invasive than the smear.
Dr. Rachel Winer tried using less invasive and time-saving home kits. The results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
All women involved were 30 to 64 years old and had no smears in three years and five months.
Half of the participants received a reminder letter. The others received the same letter, as well as a home package with a prepaid envelope. It is not clear what the home kit was about.
If the kit was not returned within three weeks, the study staff called participants at least three times to encourage them to send their kit to the lab.
The findings showed that more than a quarter (26.6 percent) of women sent both a letter and a screening to the home kit.
The academics, whose results are published in the JAMA Network Open medical journal, said that this amounted to a relative increase in admission by 50 percent.
WHAT IS HPV? THE INFECTION ASSOCIATED WITH 99% OF THE CERVIC CANCER AND 91% OF THE CHANNELS
Up to eight out of 10 people are infected with HPV in their lives
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the name for a group of viruses that affect your skin and the moist membranes along your body.
Spread through vaginal, anal and oral sex and skin-to-skin contact between genitals, it is very common.
Up to eight in ten people will be infected with the virus at some point in their lives.
There are more than 100 types of HPV. About 30 of them can affect the genital area. Genital HPV infections are common and highly contagious.
Many people never show symptoms because they can occur years after infection and most cases disappear without treatment.
It can lead to genital warts and it is also known to create cervical cancer caused by abnormal tissue growth.
Annually, an average of 38,000 cases of HPV-related cancers are diagnosed in the US, 3,100 cases of cervical cancer in the UK and about 2,000 other cancers in men.
HPV can also cause cancer of the throat, neck, tongue, tonsils, vulva, vagina, penis or anus. It can take years for cancer to develop.
In total, 2.3 percent in the home test group and 1.2 percent in the letter group had abnormal screening results that led to further investigation.
Nineteen women in the study needed treatment for cervical cancer – twelve who had received the home kit and seven who had only sent a reminder letter.
Women in the home test group also completed the screening in half the time, after 46 days from the first mailing, which could lead to an earlier diagnosis.
Dr. Winer and colleagues & # 39; s concluded that & # 39; mailing packages to under-screened women can increase cervical cancer screening & # 39 ;.
The tests look for signs of human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that causes almost all cases of cervical cancer.
Figures suggest that 80 percent of people will catch HPV during their lifetime, which can be transmitted during sex.
About 13 of the approximately 100 types of HPV are classified as & # 39; high risk & # 39; considered because they can lead to cervical cancer.
Home-based screening has become an option because testing for HPV can be done with a self-collected sample.
The UK National Screening Committee has been investigating for some time the possibility of sending do-it-yourself tests by post to women who do not respond to invitations to the official screening program.
But progress is slow and the UK authorities have not yet decided whether the technology should be rolled out.
King & # 39; s College London and NHS England are currently piloting home test sets, but many experts say the action in this area has been far too slow.
Robert Music, CEO of Jo & Cervia's Cancer Trust, said: "Attending an appointment for cervical screening can be difficult for many reasons, but the potentially life-saving benefits of the test are clear.
"The bottom line is that cervical cancer can prevent cervical cancer and we need to make the test more accessible to those who want to participate but find the current screening method too difficult.
"Progress, such as sending self-sampling kits to non-attendees, can have a huge impact on screening more people, especially those who have never accepted an invitation."
Doctors at Queen Mary University of London unveiled a home test on Monday that charities like & # 39; change game & # 39; was labeled.
The test – which collects urine or vagina fluid samples with a cotton swab – measures chemical changes caused by HPV.
A study of 600 patients showed that signs of & # 39; pre-cancer & # 39; were identified with an accuracy of more than 80 percent – similar to existing methods.
The team hopes that the tests will become routine within three to five years. But experts say smears won't be eradicated.
Those from 25 to 64 years old are invited every three to five years for smears, also called the Pap test, which gently scrapes cells in the cervix to check for abnormalities.
By 2020 all women in England will have the same cells tested for HPV. It is already being rolled out slowly.
In the US, guidelines were updated to recommend Pap testing for women aged 21 to 65 every three years or Pap and HPV testing every five years for women aged 30 to 65.
A record low 25 percent of Americans and 30 percent of women currently miss their smear.
Professor Anne Mackie, director of screening at Public Health England, said: “It is a major concern that fewer women, especially younger women, are doing their cervical screening test.
& # 39; More than a third of women younger than 30 do not take the test. We know that for some women worries about shame or discomfort can scare them.
& # 39; That's why we work closely with King & # 39; s College and the NHS, who lead a clinical pilot investigating the feasibility of offering HPV test kits for home use.
"We are doing everything we can to help more women get screened safely."
More than 3,200 British women a year are diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 1,000 die from the disease.
About 13,170 American women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year and 4,250 women die.
The NHS sends colon cancer test kits every two years to people between 60 and 74 years old.
It does not diagnose colon cancer, but can compensate for further testing if scientists in the lab worry about the amount of blood in the stool.
WHAT IS A SMEAR TEST?
A smear detects abnormal cells on the cervix, the entrance of the uterus from the vagina.
The removal of these cells can prevent cervical cancer.
Most test results clearly come back, but one in 20 women shows abnormal changes in the cells of their cervix.
In some cases, these must be removed or they can become cancerous.
Regular screening means that abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix can be identified at an early stage and, if necessary, treated to stop the development of cancer (stock)
Cervical cancer usually affects sexually active women between 30 and 45 years.
In the UK, the NHS Cervical Screening Program invites women from 25 to 49 every three years for a smear, those from 50 to 60 every five years, and women over 65 if they have not been screened since 50 or have been abnormal before Results.
Women must be registered with a general practitioner to be invited to a test.
In the US, tests start when women turn 21 and they run every three years until they turn 65.
Changes in cervical cells are often caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be transmitted during sex.
In January 2018, women shared selfies with smeared lipstick on social media to raise awareness of the importance of cervical cancer testing in a campaign launched by Jo & # 39; s Cervical Cancer Trust.
Celebrities including model and socialite Tamara Ecclestone, formerly I & # 39; m A Celebrity! star Rebekah Vardy and former Emmerdale actress Gaynor Faye participated in supporting the # SmearForSmear campaign.
Socialite Tamara Ecclestone supported the # SmearForSmear campaign from Jo & # 39; s Trust
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