A new test has been developed which could indicate whether a woman has contracted the human papilloma virus (HPV).
HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer, which is diagnosed in 2,800 women in the UK a year and has an annual death rate of 1,000.
The makers of the self-administered kit, TAMPAP TEST, said it acts as an “early warning indicator” that gives women an opportunity to test for the virus at home.
But the deputy director of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, Richard Winder, said the most effective method of cervical cancer prevention is still regular NHS cervical screening tests.
The at-home kit works by women collecting a sample using a regular tampon, then sending it to be tested at a lab.
Results are given within two weeks, and if they come back positive, it suggests that a high risk HPV strain is present in the individual - potentially resulting in cell changes in the cervix.
Women who receive this result are advised by the makers to re-test in 12 months, as most of the cases result in the virus naturally being cleared by the body.
If they are nearing the date for their next smear test, the advise is to contact their GP and book a test.