As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption across the country, it is likely that you will have seen delays and cancellations to your usual GP and outpatient appointments. With no clear end in sight, it may be some time before NHS services are able to return to normal.
One area that has been particularly affected is cancer services. Cancer Research UK’s latest figures suggest that as many as 200,000 people per week have not been screened for breast, bowel and cervical cancer, resulting in 400 people with cancer going undiagnosed. Early cancer diagnosis is the key to ensuring the best chances of survival for every patient, and screening services are integral to this. It is estimated that there will be 18,000 excess cancer deaths in the first twelve months of the pandemic. Specifically, for cervical cancer, 857,000 women will miss their smear test appointment if screening is suspended for 12 weeks.
Professor Gordon Wishart, Chief Medical Officer at Check4Cancer, has published a new report discussing how at-home testing for cervical cancer could prevent further harm caused by suspension of NHS services during the pandemic. Currently, the NHS program screens for HPV, the virus that causes 99.8% of cervical cancer cases. Using a simple swab, it is now possible for women to perform an HPV test at home, with studies showing that this method is as effective as a clinical test.
Check4Cancer launched their at-home HPV test in 2015 and has achieved excellent results, with high patient satisfaction. Professor Wishart suggests that by introducing at-home HPV testing in the NHS, the number of women visiting their GP or a hospital for smear testing could be reduced by as much as 90%. The remaining 10%, who had a positive result, would proceed to a traditional smear test to confirm their diagnosis. This introduction to the NHS would ensure women do not go undiagnosed, whilst also reducing the number of invasive procedures.
Read the full article by Professor Gordon Wishart here.
GynaeCheck, Check4Cancer’s private at-home HPV test, is available for order online now. The test is comfortable, reliable and easy to use. The test takes five minutes and you are guaranteed results in less than a week. Women with a positive result receive full support, advice and a referral. Order GynaeCheck now.