Soon, for prevention checks for cervical cancer, the pap test could be replaced by a urine test. An experiment by the University of Manchester, published in the journal Bmj open reports, has shown that it can still detect the human papilloma virus (hpv), a risk factor for this cancer.

The urine test would have the advantage of being able to be done directly at home by the same woman, thus avoiding embarrassments and anxieties that often accompany the pap test by the gynecologist. In the research, 104 women who had to do colposcopy were asked to try the urine test, noting that it gave results comparable to those of the pap test in detecting high-risk papilloma viruses. “We are excited about this study, because it can increase women’s participation in cervical cancer monitoring,” says research coordinator Emma Crosbie.

However, the results must first be confirmed with a trial on a larger sample of women, before being used by the health system. In the meantime, he concludes, “women must continue to make an appointment when they are called for pap-test screening, which is a life-saving exam”.