New cervical cancer test is approved for NHS use

A new method of testing for cervical cancer has been approved for use on the NHS

The NHS will soon be using a new way of testing for cervical cancer, which is less costly and more effective.

Every year, around 900 women die from cervical cancer in England, with some 2,500 being diagnosed with the disease, but the new test increases the chance of identifying abnormal cervical cells from 58 to 88 per cent.

The current NHS programme is estimated to save 4,500 lives a year, yet some doctors argue the benefits are oversold as many women must undergo painful examinations just to prevent one cancer.

Part of the reason the conventional test is doubted is its ineffectiveness at identifying abnormal cells. The new system should enable these cells to be spotted at an earlier stage, meaning easier treatment for patients.

‘If the process of looking for cervical abnormalities is made more sensitive, this could reduce the number of additional treatments for the patient which are known to cause stress and anxiety,’ says Robert Music, director of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.

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