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  1. ITV Report

Improved HPV Primary Testing programme to start on IoM in August

In the UK, for 1 in 20 women the test shows some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. Photo: IOM Government

The Isle of Man will soon carry out improved measures of human papilloma virus (HPV) primary screening.

A new test which will find more of those at risk of cervical cancer will examine routine cervical screening samples.

The updated screening programme for women aged 25 to 64 is being introduced across England next year.

From 1st August cervical screening samples from Isle of Man patients will first be tested for HPV.

Letters inviting women for screening will be sent out in the normal way and the procedure for having the sample taken at the GP surgery will be exactly the same.

What is Human Papilloma Virus?

  • the name for a group of viruses that affect your skin and the moist membranes lining your body.
  • the majority (99.7%) of cervical cancers are caused a persistent HPV infection
  • there are more than 100 types of HPV. Around 30 types of HPV infection can affect the genital area. (credit: NHS website)

Evidence suggests screening for HPV first is a more effective way to alert women if they’re at risk of developing cervical cancer, ensuring further investigation and treatment is carried out at an early stage, to prevent the disease.

For around 1 in 20 women the test shows some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix - with around 3,000 cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in the UK each year.

Liverpool Clinical Laboratories will carry out the tests - the first English laboratory to convert its cervical screening service to HPV Primary Screening ahead of UK national implementation in 2019.

Staff such as GPs and practice nurses have completed a training programme which explores the background to the new test and the various administrative changes required.

Leaflets explaining HPV Primary Testing will be sent with invitations to the test.

You can find out more here.

This is very good news for women in the Isle of Man. The new test offers a single-stage, more sensitive test for detection of the virus while confirming a longer-term low risk after a negative result. Cervical screening saves thousands of lives every year in the UK. The change is a breakthrough as the new test will ensure the first signs of disease are spotted and treated earlier. It’ll also mean we can make better use of the colposcopy service at Noble’s, where woman are referred for examination when abnormalities are found. Adopting HPV Primary Screening puts us ahead of the curve as we will be among the first places to offer it.

– Dr Henrietta Ewart, Director of IOM Public Health