May 27, 2024

New tampon test simplifies cervical cancer screening at home

New tampon test simplifies cervical cancer screening at home

…Can check for 14 strains of HPV

By Sola Ogundipe

The launch of the world’s first tampon-based HPV test, allowing women to conveniently conduct the test at home could lead to increased cervical cancer screening and prevention rates.

HPV, the human papillomavirus, is a major risk factor for cervical cancer and this innovation by Daye, a women’s health startup, targets those who might find traditional smear tests embarrassing or inconvenient. Daye has previously developed similar tests for other sexually transmitted infections.

The at-home HPV test, available online, allows women to conveniently check for 14 strains of the virus linked to nearly all cervical cancer cases. The user-friendly test resembles a tampon and is worn for at least 20 minutes to collect a sample. This sample is then mailed to a UK lab for analysis with results returned within ten days.

Daye founder Valentina Milanova sees their new home HPV test as a game-changer for cervical cancer prevention. “Eliminating cervical cancer by 2040 requires a multi-pronged approach,” she says, emphasizing the importance of vaccination, screening, and individual testing. “We hope to encourage more women to proactively check for HPV.”

The user-friendly design, resembling a tampon, aims to address potential barriers to traditional screenings. “This hassle-free kit is extremely easy and comfortable to use,” Milanova explains, “empowering patients to take control of their long-term health and fertility.”

This innovation is particularly relevant considering the prevalence of HPV.  Milanova highlights that eight out of ten people contract the virus at some point, often without symptoms. Early detection through this convenient test can help prevent future health issues, including cancer and fertility problems.

While not yet available on the NHS, Daye’s at-home HPV screen is part of its Accelerator for Innovation programme, which supports promising developments that could one-day change practice.