Using self-sampling followed by HPV testing, more than twice as many women at risk of developing cervical cancer could be identified and offered preventive treatment. This is shown by researchers at Uppsala University in the first randomised study in the world comparing two ways of identifying cervical cancer, published today in the British Journal of Cancer.
Cervical cancer screening has previously been based on cell sampling and cytology. This method initially reduced the number of cases of cervical cancer in Sweden substantially, but additional effects have been difficulty to achieve. This is due to the limited sensitivity of the method, and the fact that not all women attend screening.
In the new study, researchers have compared today’s screening based on cytology and sampling by a midwife, with the woman taking a self-sample and submitting it for analysis of human papillomavirus, HPV, which is the cause of cervical cancer.
The study is based on 36,390 women between the ages of 30 and 49 who participated in the organised screening in Uppsala County, 2013-2015. These were divided into two groups: one group performed self-sampling for an HPV test, while the other group had a midwife take a cell sample for cytological
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