As you know, September is Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month. To coincide with this, GynaeHealth UK have launched a campaign called Target 100,000, with the admirable aim of getting more women involved with cervical screening. The campaign introduces a new, at-home HPV screening kit called GynaeCheck, offering us girls the option to test themselves from the comfort of their own bathroom. As high-risk strains of the HPV virus cause over 99% of cervical cancers, it’s well worth keeping up-to-date with your checks – the earlier anything ugly is caught, the better. There’s lots more information about HPV here if you’re interested.
As someone who is, understandably, very interested in the proposition of a home HPV test, I was sad that due to my current predicament I was unable to take up the offer of trying one out. However, a kind/brave friend stepped up to be a “gynae pig” in my place. Here’s my interview with her, sharing her experience of GynaeCheck…
It arrived in the post. Inside were instructions, the device, a return box with a vial in it and a white label to seal the return box.
How did you feel before doing the test? Was it well explained? Were you nervous?
I think the instructions make it seem more complicated than it really is. They made it seem a bit complicated and confusing. I did feel a bit nervous because my last smear test was quite painful, but I knew it was important to do. The wand looked quite big!
What was your experience of taking the test? What did you have to do?
You basically have to put it inside you, press the button, wait for 30 seconds and then take it out. The button presses out liquid into your vagina, which is then sucked back into the wand. It was actually easy, pain free and really simple. It took about a minute to do and wasn’t at all stressful.
How did you feel after?
Fine. Sometimes after a smear you can feel a bit fragile, but this didn’t feel like anything. It’s no more than a tampon really.
How did you return the test to get the results?
You have to package a vial of the liquid in the return box and send it straight away. It says you need 2 mls of liquid but there’s no measure on the vial to check how much you’ve got. Also, if you did it wrong you’d have to get a whole new kit so it might be good to have a spare just in case! You just send off the prepaid box and wait for the results.
How did you get the results?
I’m still waiting for mine at the moment, but you get them within 10 working days. If there’s anything unusual about your results then they ring you to advise you what to do next.
Who would you recommend the test for?
It would be good for people who are too young for a smear but want to test to make sure. People who are anxious about going to the doctor, or who might not want to go for cultural reasons might want to use this test too. It is quite pricey though!
Many thanks to my kind friend for trying out the kit. We agreed that it could be a really great option for women to be able to self-screen at home. However, we weren’t sure how it would link up with your GP and medical records. It also turns out that it’s not available for women under 25 – in line with NHS policy – though that would be a great opportunity for this product in our opinion.
GynaeCheck kits cost £129 (or £149 for a test that includes Chlamydia) – though you can get them for £99 for the remainder of September. Visit the GynaeHealth UK website to find out more and order a kit.
My kind friend was sent a free GynaeCheck self-screening device to try. All opinions are her own.