Research has found that 81 per cent of British women consider visiting a gynaecology for a cervical cancer screening a critical part of their health management.
However, over half find the guidance on cervical cancer screening confusing, and do not understand the difference between a pap test and an HPV test.
BD, a leading global medical technology company, shares the results of a Harris Poll survey, which highlights gaps in cervical cancer screening access.
It found that 59 per cent of women in the UK have delayed a gynaecology visit; with a third of British women avoiding a gynaecology visit due to embarrassment.
The survey also found that 46 per cent of women mistakenly believe that Pap (Papanicolaou) tests are the most accurate test for detecting cervical cancer.
Self-collection for cervical cancer screening is a viable option for increasing access and health equity. it is already available in countries around the world, including Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Kenya, Australia, and New Zealand. it is not yet available in the UK.
The majority of women in the UK (63 per cent) say they would be comfortable doing a self-collected vaginal test at home to screen for cervical cancer.
Most women in the UK (70 per cent) would be interested in at-home screening for HPV or cervical cancer, the survey also reported.
DrJeff Andrews, a gynaecologist and vice president of medical affairs for Integrated Diagnostic Solutions at BD shares his advice.
“A pap test looks for existing abnormalities, including cervical precancer or cancer. An HPV assay is more sensitive than Pap tests and can identify the potential for abnormalities to develop. When a woman has a positive HPV result, it is important to know what kind of HPV she has. There are different types or strains. The risk of progression varies by type and duration. The persistence of infection with the same type can be determined with an HPV assay that reports the types.
“As a physician, I must educate patients about ways to prevent and options to screen for cervical precancer. As patients, women deserve more information on how they are being tested, including the type of test, how often they are being tested and why. Screening techniques advance and guidelines change.
“My patients are interested in knowing more about HPV, the types, the risks, and the management of abnormal results. More knowledge about high-risk HPV types and cervical cancer screening can empower people with a cervix to take greater control of their health.”
What can you do to reduce the risk cervical cancer?
- See a gynaecologist every year
- Ask a doctor about HPV testing and get the HPV vaccine
- Use protection during sex as HPV is the most common STD today.