Smear tests could be replaced with a self-collected urine sample in the future.
A study by researchers at the University of Manchester discovered that urine testing may have similar sensitivity in detecting HPV as cervical smear testing.
Researchers compared 80 self-collected urine sample and a vaginal swab sample with a cervical sample collected by a healthcare professional.
They found only a six per cent difference in sensitivity between the two tests, with smear tests providing a higher number of true positives.
Further clinical trials are needed to confirm and expand on the results.
A questionnaire completed by participants found that the majority of women prefered providing a urine sample to having a sample taken by a healthcare professional.
Improving the uptake of cervical cancer screening.
With only 71% of eligible patients attending cervical smear tests, it is hoped the test could be used to improve the uptake of cervical cancer screening in the future.
It was noted because a preservative needs to be added to urine samples for the best results it would currently prevent the samples being taken at home and posted in for analysis. But the researchers added that “it would not preclude self-collection within primary care, where preservative can be safely added shortly afterwards.”
Lead researcher Dr Emma Crosbie, said: “We’re really very excited by this study, which we think has the potential to significantly increase participation rates for cervical cancer screening.
“Campaigns to encourage women to attend cervical screening have helped. The brilliant campaign by the late Jade Goody increased numbers attendance by around 400,000 women.
“But sadly, the effects aren’t long lasting and participation rates tend to fall back after a while. We clearly need a more sustainable solution.”