Given that the primary creening method is human papillomavirus (HPV) testing, Scientists at Queen Mary, University of London opine that cervical cancer screening intervals could be extended to five years for women aged 30 and over.
A study showed that HPV tests are very accurate in identifying early signs of cervical cancer, detecting more serious abnormalities compared to current cytology screening in women aged 30 and over.
The study, led by David Mesher, from the Cancer Research UK Centre for Epidemiology, Mathematics and Statistics at Queen Mary, University of London, recruited more than 11,000 women from 161 family practices around the UK.
Two samples were taken from each of the women; one using the conventional cytology screening method and the other was sent for HPV testing.
The researchers found that women with HPV negative results had a lower rate of developing pre-cancerous cells for at least six years compared with women who recorded a negative cytology result.
The research has been published in the British Journal of Cancer.