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HPV testing pilots announced

HPV testing will soon be piloted as the primary screen for cervical disease, potentially replacing the traditional smear test under a decision made by the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC).

The pilot aims to establish whether using HPV testing as the primary screening tool for cervical disease results in better outcomes for women, while “minimising over-treatment and anxiety”.

The programme will be developed by the NHS Cervical Screening Programme.

“This is a good example of a new approach that could further improve an already successful screening programme. HPV testing may better indicate which women are at risk of cervical cancer".

Recently, a recommendation has also been made for cervical screening to begin at 25 in Scotland and Wales - in line with existing practice in England and Northern Ireland.

This is said to be based on “strong evidence” that screening in women aged 20-24 is “substantially less effective” in preventing cancer.