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Fears over DIY smear test online

Cervical cancer experts today warned young women against buying DIY smear tests via the internet.

Dr Anne Szarewski, a clinical consultant, spoke out as online pharmacy DrThom launched the kits.

She said they could lead to women under 30 being told they have the sexually transmitted infection that causes cervical cancer when it would actually clear up on its own.

The new test detects changes in cells affected by human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes most cases of cervical cancer.

The £115 (€127) service is being aimed at busy career women, those who find going for smear tests embarrassing or people who otherwise wouldn't be able to get a test.

Screening of young women and innoculation of girls against a certain infection became the subject of debate after TV star Jade Goody died last year from cervical cancer, aged 27.

Dr Szarewski said: "In young people, everyone is going to test positive. The rate of HPV is high but it comes and goes."

She said women whose results suggested something was wrong could be left feeling anxious.