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A new study has found that the introduction of HPV testing as the primary cervical screening method could mean that the intervals between screening could be extended with women attending far less screens in their life. Those who have had the HPV vaccination may only need to have three.
Speaking about the findings Robert Music, Chief Executive Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “HPV primary testing has been shown to be a much more effective screening test reducing the number of cases every year. We look forward to seeing it rolled out across the UK over the coming years and the positive impact it will have on getting us closer to a future where cervical cancer is a disease of the past. It is further positive to see that it could lead to reductions in the number of screens women need to attend in their lifetime, especially in those who have been vaccinated. This could potentially make the experience easier for women and further save money which could be invested in the programme.
There is a lot of confusion and uncertainty around HPV primary screening, therefore it is essential that women are provided with information to alleviate these concerns as soon as possible and that they know where they can go for support and with questions.
However, we must continue to focus on increasing uptake of the vaccination and screening programmes to ensure more women are able to benefit from these advances. Screening attendance in particular, is falling across the UK and in England is now at 20 year low with 1 in 4 women not attending. We would urge the government to use any savings made as a result of reduced screening intervals to fund a national cervical screening awareness campaign. If we do not reverse falling screening attendance we will simply be faced with more lives lost to the disease which could have been prevented.”