LONDON – Scientists are being held accountable for a drastic rise in common cancers caused by home virus tests – and have launched a global probe into the health consequences.
Dating back to 2001, people have been self-testing for genital herpes without proper expert advice, which has led to an explosion in self-diagnoses of cancer – with two million herpes tests sent to laboratories since then, the BBC reported.
From kidney cancer to cervical cancer, false positives have been sent to laboratories which in turn ordered tests for these cancers.
Larger cancer – such as penile cancer – are not commonly detected by a simple home test.
This raises the risk of incurable cancers as the patients then undergo surgery and chemotherapy.
“These cancer (screening) kits should never have been sent to labs because there are various possible links with another type of cancer,” Dr Vincent Martin, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at University College London, told BBC News.
He added: “The concern is that people will use this (chronic infection test) wrongly and then have problems such as infertility or the chance of getting cervical cancer or cancer of the oesophagus.
“There’s been a huge increase and I’m absolutely certain the vast majority of those tested were given the wrong results.”
And he added: “The scientists don’t know what’s wrong but they’re all an obvious possibility.”
Scientists have now revealed the huge numbers of people have been sent for a false HPV test for genital warts, which may later cause cervical cancer.
These tests have led to 3,000 cancer tests being wrongly sent to labs since 2008.
The scientists want to set up an international task force which will investigate the lab incidents.