Funding of £1.5 million to support a new initiative that will use an at-home test to diagnose HPV

A new initiative in Hull and Manchester is testing an at-home test for human papillomavirus (HPV), thanks to £1.5 million in funding from the charity Yorkshire Cancer Research.

In 2019, the NHS Cervical Screening Programme shifted its focus from cell alterations to HPV, which is associated with virtually all occurrences of cervical cancer. Women above the age of 65, on the other hand, are not routinely invited to cervical screening, and many women in this age range had already discontinued screening previous to this change.

The ‘Catch-up Screen’ initiative, directed by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in cooperation with the Universities of Manchester and Hull, will offer these women an HPV test through partnerships with local primary care practices. 10,000 women in Hull and Manchester are expected to be recruited to join in this study, which will determine whether at-home tests are an effective strategy to prevent cancer in this older age range.

Unlike regular cervical screening, which can be uncomfortable at times, the ‘Catch-up Screen’ project will require women to produce a urine sample, which is an effective method of testing for HPV. The researchers believe that this will motivate women who were not previously screened to participate.

Women who test positive for HPV will be referred for additional testing and, if necessary, treatment.

In April 2023, the first women from Hull and Manchester will be invited to participate in this research.

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