Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A study looking at the HPV test as part of screening for cervical cancer
This study compared the results of human papilloma virus (HPV) tests done by women themselves with cervical smear and HPV tests done by a doctor or nurse.
Doctors usually use a cervical smear test to screen for cervical cancer. But some women are reluctant to have this test as they find it embarrassing or it is not culturally acceptable. Testing for HPV is another way to see which women are at risk of developing cervical cancer. Women can do the HPV test themselves at home. It does not have to be done by a doctor or nurse.
The aim of this study was to compare the results of all three tests to see how reliable self sampling is. And to find out what women thought of the different tests.
Summary of results
The researchers found that self sampling for HPV is reliable and acceptable to women. The test could be used instead of (or as well as) standard smear tests in the future.
The study recruited 902 women eligible for cervical cancer screening. The results showed that
- There was no significant difference in test results between the HPV samples taken by the women themselves, and those done by a doctor or nurse
- Most women who took part preferred doing the HPV test themselves
- Most of the women said they would use the self sampling test again if they were offered it
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Dr Anne Szarewski
Professor Jane Wardle
Cancer Research UK