London: A new, more accurate smear test that can detect cervical cancer much earlier will be introduced in UK from next March.
The test will be introduced in a 1.2 million-pound pilot scheme which could help save thousands of lives a year, the Daily Mail reported.
At present, women are recommended to have a smear test every three years from the age of 25.
But the new test, which identifies the presence of the HPV virus – linked to 99 per cent of cervical cancer cases – means women could be safely tested every six to ten years.
This is because the test uses far more sensitive computerised screening methods.
Early prediction is crucial as the disease is notoriously symptom-free in the initial stages.
The country’s Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will announce the test on Tuesday at a conference called Britain Against Cancer.
The Minister will also announce a new 2 million-pound pilot screening programme for bowel cancer which could save 3,000 lives a year.
“I want to make sure our survival is among the best and NHS patients receive the best treatment available,” the paper quoted Hunt as saying.