YouScreen is a research study that will offer 31,000 women and people with a cervix in north and east London the opportunity to take a self-sample for cervical screening. London has the lowest rate of cervical screening in England. Women who do not come regularly for cervical screening are more likely to develop cervical cancer. We hope that offering YouScreen self-sampling kits will make cervical screening easier and will encourage more women to be screened.
YouScreen kits are being offered in two different ways: by post or at a GP practice that is signed up. Women living in Barnet, Camden, Islington, Newham and Tower Hamlets, whose practice is taking part may be invited.
What is the YouScreen kit?
The YouScreen kit allows women to take their own sample for cervical screening using a vaginal swab (like a long cotton bud). It is free, easy to use and can be taken at a time and place that is convenient. You do not need to be examined or to have an appointment. Most women find it comfortable and pain free. The sample collected will be tested for human papillomavirus (HPV) at the laboratory.
Who can take part in the YouScreen study?
The YouScreen kits are being offered to women who are overdue their cervical screening as part of a study. Women living in Barnet, Camden, Islington, Newham and Tower Hamlets, whose practice is taking part may be invited.
What does taking part involve?
Women who are invited to take part in the YouScreen study will need to:
Follow the instructions in the YouScreen kit and in this video to take a self-sample
Write the date the sample was taken on the sample tube
Fill in the laboratory consent form
Fill in the questionnaire included in the kit
Send sample (completed kit) to the laboratory in the freepost envelope
Send back the completed questionnaire
Is a self-sample as effective as a sample taken by a doctor or nurse?
A sample taken by a doctor or nurse is most effective. However, a self-sample is a very good alternative if a woman does not wish to have a cervical screening sample taken by a doctor or nurse. Self-sampling is already being offered routinely in other countries with high-quality cervical screening programmes. Research shows that 99 out of 100 women are able to do self-sampling properly.
How do women find out their YouScreen test results?
After the YouScreen kit is posted to the laboratory, results will be sent to women by letter to their address within 14 days. A copy of the result will also be sent to their GP.
What are the possible benefits of taking part?
Some women find it difficult to make an appointment for cervical screening because they are busy or their GP practice is busy. Some women may find it uncomfortable or embarrassing to have a test taken by a doctor or nurse. Women that are offered a YouScreen kit will be able to take a test for cervical screening without having to be examined or to make an appointment.
In other studies, some women who had not been for routine cervical screening and took a self-sample were found to have abnormal cervical cells and were successfully treated.
Is information available in another language?
If you have received an invitation to the YouScreen study and need the information in another language, click on the relevant link below.
The YouScreen study is funded by the North Central and East London Cancer Alliance. It has the support and approval of NHS England London Region and Public Health England. The study is sponsored by University College London and the research is being led by the Cancer Prevention Trials Unit at King’s College London.