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Self sampling on the way

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By Fiona Reid
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Self sampling on the way

A SELF sampling kit for cervical cancer screening could soon be available for use by women in this region.

And medics at NHS Dumfries and Galloway have been praised for their role in the developments.

South Scotland MSP Emma Harper last week asked the minister for Public Health whether the roll out of self-testing could be expedited in light of Covid-19 to limit the number of women physically presenting for appointments, whilst simultaneously allowing some cancer screening services to restart.

Currently, across Dumfries and Galloway there are around 6000 women who have defaulted or not taken up their offer of a smear test which screens for cervical cancer. However, NHS Dumfries and Galloway originally started the groundbreaking work on a self-test for the board area and are now working with the Scottish Government to allow the wider-rollout of the test.

Ms Harper said: “I welcome the opportunity to raise the issue of self-test screening for cervical cancer directly with the Minister for Public Health. This is an issue which I have been pursuing for some time, and I thank NHS Dumfries and Galloway for originally leading the way and spearheading this work ahead of partnering with the Scottish Government to allow a Scotland-wide roll out. “The self-sampling model has already proven to reduce late diagnoses of cervical cancer across various European countries and it has also increased the number of women presenting for a test. Based on the international evidence, I have asked whether a self-test model could be expedited here in Scotland, given the fact that cancer screening programmes have currently stopped due to coronavirus.

“I thank Dr William Forson, Dr Gwen Baxter and the team at NHS Dumfries and Galloway who put in the groundwork for this model of self-sampling for cervical cancer screening to be possible and I look forward to speedy progress from the Scottish Government to allow for self-sampling, and therefore some screening services, to be resumed.”

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