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1.  Cervical Screening at Age 50–64 Years and the Risk of Cervical Cancer at Age 65 Years and Older: Population-Based Case Control Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(1):e1001585.
Peter Sasieni and colleagues use a population-based case control study to assess the risk of cervical cancer in screened women aged over 65 years to help inform policy on the upper age of cervical cancer screening.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
There is little consensus, and minimal evidence, regarding the age at which to stop cervical screening. We studied the association between screening at age 50–64 y and cervical cancer at age 65–83 y.
Methods and Findings
Cases were women (n = 1,341) diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 65–83 y between 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2012 in England and Wales; age-matched controls (n = 2,646) were randomly selected from population registers. Screening details from 1988 onwards were extracted from national databases. We calculated the odds ratios (OR) for different screening histories and subsequent cervical cancer. Women with adequate negative screening at age 65 y (288 cases, 1,395 controls) were at lowest risk of cervical cancer (20-y risk: 8 cancers per 10,000 women) compared with those (532 cases, 429 controls) not screened at age 50–64 y (20-y risk: 49 cancers per 10,000 women, with OR = 0.16, 95% CI 0.13–0.19). ORs depended on the age mix of women because of the weakening association with time since last screen: OR = 0.11, 95% CI 0.08–0.14 at 2.5 to 7.5 y since last screen; OR = 0.27, 95% CI 0.20–0.36 at 12.5 to 17.5 y since last screen. Screening at least every 5.5 y between the ages 50 and 64 y was associated with a 75% lower risk of cervical cancer between the ages 65 and 79 y (OR = 0.25, 95% CI 0.21–0.30), and the attributable risk was such that in the absence of screening, cervical cancer rates in women aged 65+ would have been 2.4 (95% CI 2.1–2.7) times higher. In women aged 80–83 y the association was weaker (OR = 0.49, 95% CI 0.28–0.83) than in those aged 65–69 y (OR = 0.12, 95% CI 0.09–0.17). This study was limited by an absence of data on confounding factors; additionally, findings based on cytology may not generalise to human papillomavirus testing.
Women with adequate negative screening at age 50–64 y had one-sixth of the risk of cervical cancer at age 65–83 y compared with women who were not screened. Stopping screening between ages 60 and 69 y in women with adequate negative screening seems sensible, but further screening may be justifiable as life expectancy increases.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Nearly one in ten cancers diagnosed in women occur in the cervix, the structure that connects the womb to the vagina. Every year, more than a quarter of a million women (mostly in developing countries) die because of cervical cancer, which occurs only after the cervix has been infected with human papillomavirus (HPV) through sexual intercourse. In the earliest stages of cervical cancer, abnormal cells begin to grow in the cervix. Cells with low-grade abnormalities (changes that often revert to normal), cells with high-grade abnormalities (which are more likely to become cancerous), and cancer cells can all be detected by collecting a few cells from the cervix and examining them under a microscope. This test forms the basis of cervical screening, which has greatly reduced cervical cancer deaths in countries with a national screening program by ensuring that cervical abnormalities are detected at an early, treatable stage. In the UK, for example, since the start of a cervical screening program in 1988 in which women aged 25–64 years are called for testing every 3–5 years, the incidence of cervical cancer (the number of new cases per year) has almost halved at a time when sexually transmitted diseases have more than doubled.
Why Was This Study Done?
Currently, there is little consensus about the age at which cervical screening should stop, and minimal evidence about the impact of cervical screening on the incidence of cervical cancer in older women. In this population-based case control study (a study that compares the characteristics of all the cases of a disease in a population with the characteristics of matched individuals without the disease), the researchers examine the association between screening in women aged 50–64 years and cervical cancer in women aged 65–83 years. They ask whether well-screened women with a history of negative results and no evidence of high-grade abnormalities are at sufficiently low risk of cervical cancer that screening can be stopped at age 65 years, and whether women who are regularly screened (at least once every 5.5 years) between the ages of 50 and 64 years are subsequently at reduced risk of cervical cancer.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers randomly selected two age-matched controls for every woman aged 65–83 years who was diagnosed with cervical cancer between 2007 and 2012 in England and Wales. The researchers included 1,341 women with cervical cancer and 2,646 controls. They extracted each woman's cervical screening details from national databases and calculated the association between screening history and subsequent cervical cancer. Women with adequate negative screening at age 65 years (at least three tests at age 50–64 years with the last one over age 60, the last three of which were negative, and no evidence of high-grade abnormalities) were at the lowest risk of cervical cancer (20-year risk of eight cancers per 10,000 women) compared with unscreened women (20-year risk of 49 cancers per 10,000 women). That is, women who were not screened at age 50–64 years were six times more likely to develop cervical cancer between the ages of 65 and 83 years than women who were screened. The risk of developing cervical cancer among adequately negatively screened women increased with age and with time since the last screen. Finally, the researchers estimate that in the absence of any cervical screening, the rate of cervical cancer among women aged 65–79 years would be 23 cases per 100,000 woman-years, 2.4 times higher than the current rate.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that women who exited the screening program in England and Wales with a history of adequate negative screening between the ages of 50 and 64 years were at a very low risk of being diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 65 years or older. The “protection” provided by screening was greatest for women aged 65–69 years and decreased steadily with increasing age and with time since the last negative screen. Because the researchers did not have any information on other characteristics that might have affected cervical cancer risk (for example, number of sexual partners), the women who were screened may have shared other characteristics that reduced their risk of developing cervical cancer. Moreover, these findings, which are based on microscopic examination of cells, may not generalise to the HPV-based screening programs that many countries are considering. Despite these limitations, the researchers conclude that, for now, it seems sensible to continue screening at least until age 60 years and not beyond age 69 years in women with adequate negative screening, but that given increasing life expectancy, screening in older women might be justified in the future.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Anne Rositch and colleagues
The US National Cancer Institute provides information about cervical cancer for patients and for health professionals, including information on cervical screening (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information about cervical cancer and about cervical screening
The UK National Health Service Cervical Screening Programme website has detailed information and statistics on cervical screening in England
The UK National Health Service Choices website has pages on cervical cancer (including a personal story about cervical cancer) and on cervical screening (including personal comments about screening)
Cancer Research UK provides detailed information about all aspects of cervical cancer
More information about cervical cancer and screening is available from the Macmillan cancer charity
MedlinePlus provides links to additional resources about cervical cancer and screening (in English and Spanish)
Personal stories about cervical cancer and about cervical screening are available through the charity Healthtalkonline
PMCID: PMC3891624  PMID: 24453946
2.  Awareness and knowledge regarding of cervical cancer, Pap smear screening and human papillomavirus infection in Gabonese women 
BMC Women's Health  2015;15:37.
Cervical cancer is the commonest cancer and the leading cause of cancer mortality in women in Gabon. The age-standardized incidence of cervical cancer is 19.9 per 100 000 women and the mortality rate is 8.4 per 100 000. Various international studies have identified the lack of awareness and knowledge about cervical cancer as barriers to use preventive methods. This article assesses the awareness and knowledge about cervical cancer, Pap smear testing and its use and HPV among women living in Libreville, Gabon.
This study was conducted in October 2014 in Libreville. A total of 452 women aged 16 years and above were recruited from different town locations. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify the effect of demographic characteristics on the level of knowledge about cervical cancer, Pap smear testing and HPV. Odds ratio and 95% confidence intervals were used to identify the strength of association. Associations were considered statistically significant at p < 0.05.
Of all the women interviewed, 91.6% (414/452) had heard about cervical cancer and only 27.9% (126/452) had heard of Pap smear test. Of these 126 women, only 65.1% (82/126) had done cervical cancer screening and 68.3% (56/82) on the suggestion of a doctor. The most common reason for not undergoing Pap smear testing was neglect (50%, 22/44) followed by lack of financial resources (13.6%, 6/44), fear of discovering a serious disease (13.6%, 6/44) and deeming it unimportant (13.6%, 6/44). Only 8% (40/452) of the participants had heard about HPV and their knowledge of HPV was fair. There is a very poor level of knowledge about cervical cancer among Gabonese women.
This study demonstrates a very low level of knowledge about cervical cancer, Pap smear testing and HPV in a sample of Gabonese women. There is a critical need for Gabonese women to be informed about cervical cancer and the Pap smear test to improve the use of this preventive method. The implication of health staff and Gabonese media should be included as a centerpiece in the effort to inform the population in order to reduce the burden of cervical cancer in Gabon and save women lives.
PMCID: PMC4415219  PMID: 25924940
Cervical cancer; Pap smear test; HPV; Knowledge; Gabonese women
3.  Cervical Cancer Screening Among Adult Women in China, 2010 
The Oncologist  2015;20(6):627-634.
This study examined data from the 2010 China Chronic Disease and Risk Factor Surveillance System to profile cervical cancer screening behavior among women in China. The results indicate that screening programs need to be strengthened along with a more intense focus on specific demographic groups to make screening services available and accessible to all women, especially those who reside in rural areas and those with no health insurance.
Cervical cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among women in China. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends routine screening for cervical cancer, and the WHO Global Monitoring Framework suggests that every nation monitors cervical cancer screening. However, little information is available on cervical cancer screening behavior among women in China.
We used data from the 2010 China Chronic Disease and Risk Factor Surveillance System that included 51,989 women aged 18 years and older. We report the proportion of women who reported ever having had a Papanicolaou (Pap) test, stratified by sociodemographic characteristics and geographic region. Multivariable logistic regression modeling was performed to adjust for potential confounders.
Overall, 21% of 51,989 women reported having ever had a Pap test. The highest proportion was reported among women aged 30–39 years (30.1%, 95% confidence interval, 26.8%–33.4%). In all geographic regions, women in rural areas were consistently less likely than women in urban areas to report having had a Pap test. Among women who reported ever having a Pap test, 82% reported having the most recent test in the past 3 years. Factors associated with reporting ever having a test were being aged 30–49 years, higher education, being married, and having urban health insurance.
Our results indicate that screening programs need to be strengthened along with a more intense focus on specific demographic groups. National cervical cancer screening guidelines and comprehensive implementation strategies are needed to make screening services available and accessible to all women.
Implications for Practice:
This study is the largest nationwide and population-based assessment of self-reported history of Pap test for cervical cancer screening in China. This article describes cervical cancer screening behavior among women and examines key demographic and geographic factors. Only one fifth of Chinese women reported having ever had a Pap test for cervical cancer screening. The results highlight the urgent need to develop national cervical cancer screening guidelines and strategies that make screening services widely available, accessible, and acceptable to all women, especially to those who reside in rural areas and those with no health insurance.
PMCID: PMC4571778  PMID: 25956407
Cervical cancer; Papanicolaou test; Women; China; Epidemiology
4.  Cervical Cancer-Related Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices of Health Professionals Working in Brazil’s Network of Primary Care Units 
The Oncologist  2014;19(4):375-382.
The authors surveyed coordinators and health professionals from 1,600 primary health care units across Brazil regarding their knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to cervical cancer and human papillomavirus vaccination. Results showed that overscreening may be impeding efforts to increase cervical cancer screening coverage among the eligible target population of women aged 25–64 years and that educational efforts may be needed to increase knowledge about targeting age-appropriate groups for human papillomavirus vaccination.
Brazil’s national strategy for cervical cancer screening includes using the Papanicolaou (Pap) test every 3 years among women aged 25–64 years. Comprehensive primary care services are provided through a network of primary health units, but little is known about cervical cancer-related knowledge, attitudes, and practices among health professionals and coordinators working in these facilities.
In 2011, we conducted a cross-sectional nationally representative phone survey of 1,600 primary health care units to interview one unit coordinator and one health care professional per unit (either nurse, physician, or community health worker). Responses were obtained from 1,251 coordinators, 182 physicians, 347 nurses, and 273 community health workers. Questionnaires were administered to assess health units’ characteristics and capacity for cervical cancer-related services as well as health professionals’ perceived effectiveness of the Pap test, preparedness to talk to women about cervical cancer, adherence with screening guidelines, and willingness to recommend human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination to females.
Most units conducted screening (91.9%), used home visits to conduct recruitment and outreach (83.4%), and provided follow-up to women who did not return to discuss Pap test results (88.1%). Approximately 93% of health professionals stated that Pap testing was effective in decreasing death rates from cervical cancer and 65% stated that national guidelines for cervical cancer screening are very influential; 93% of nurses and physicians reported screening women annually and 75% reported beginning to screen women younger than 25 years old. Regarding HPV vaccination, almost 90% of nurses and physicians would recommend the HPV vaccine to their females patients if it were available. A larger proportion of physicians and nurses recommended the HPV vaccine to older girls (13–18 years) and women (19–26 years and even older than 26 years) than to younger girls (12 years or younger).
Although Brazil’s network of primary care units has significantly increased access to cervical cancer screening, effective strategies are needed to ensure that women get screened at the appropriate ages and intervals. Additionally, this study’s baseline data on HPV vaccination may be useful as Brazil embarks on a national HPV vaccination program in 2014.
PMCID: PMC3983817  PMID: 24668334
Cervical cancer screening in Brazil; Global health; HPV vaccination; Cervical cancer knowledge
5.  Knowledge, attitudes and practice toward cervical cancer screening among Sikkimese nursing staff in India 
To assess baseline knowledge of cancer cervix, screening and practice of Pap smear screening among Sikkimese staff nurses in India.
Materials and Methods:
Between April 2012 and February 2013, a predesigned, pretested, self -administered multiple responses questionnaire survey was conducted among staff nurses’ working in various hospitals of Sikkim. Questionnaire contained information about their demographics, knowledge of cervical cancer, its risk factors, screening methods, attitudes toward cervical cancer screening and practice of Pap smear amongst themselves.
Overall, 90.4% nurses responded that they were aware of cancer cervix. Three quarter of the staff nurses were not aware of commonest site being cancer cervix in women. Of the 320 participants, who had heard of cancer cervix, 253 (79.1%) were aware of cancer cervix screening. Pap smear screening should start at 21 years or 3 years after sexual debut was known to only one-third of the nursing staff. Age was found to be a significant predictor of awareness of Pap smear screening among nursing staff. Awareness was significantly more prevalent among older staff (P < 0.007). Married nursing staffs were significantly more likely to be aware of screening methods, and nursing staff of Christian and Buddhist religion were 1.25 times and 2.03 times more likely to aware of screening methods than Hindu religion respectively. Only 16.6% nurses, who were aware of a Pap smear (11.9% of the total sample), had ever undergone a Pap smear test. Most common reason offered for not undergoing Pap smear test were, they felt they were not at risk (41%), uncomfortable pelvic examination (25%) and fear of a bad result (16.6%).
Knowledge of cancer cervix, screening and practice of Pap smear was low among Sikkimese nursing staff in India. There is an urgent need for re-orientation course for working nurses and integration of cervical cancer prevention issues in the nurses’ existing curriculum in India and other developing countries.
PMCID: PMC4477372  PMID: 26157287
Cervical cancer; knowledge; nursing staff; Pap smear; screening
6.  The Frequency of Pap Smear Screening in the United States 
U.S. professional medical societies and the national health systems of all other industrialized nations recommend that most women need not undergo Papanicolaou (Pap) smear screening annually. There are no data, however, regarding the frequency at which women actually undergo screening.
To describe the frequency of cervical cancer screening in the United States.
National Health Interview Survey, a cross-sectional population-based telephone survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics.
Representative sample of U.S. women age 21 and older who denied a history of cancer (N = 16,467).
Pap smear screening frequency, categorized as no regular screening or screening at 1 of 3 discrete screening intervals (every year, every 2 years, or every 3 years) based on each woman's reported number of Pap smears in the previous 6 years.
The vast majority (93%) of American women report having had at least one Pap smear in their lifetime. Among women with no history of abnormal smears, 55% undergo Pap smear screening annually, 17% report a 2-year screening interval, 16% report being screened every 3 years, and 11% are not being screened regularly. Even the very elderly report frequent screening—38% of women age 75 to 84 and 20% of women age 85 and older reported annual Pap smears. Overall, 20% of women reported having had at least one abnormal Pap smear. Among these women, rates of frequent Pap smear screening are considerably higher—80% undergo annual screening, with only a modest decline in screening frequency with increasing age.
The majority of American women report being screened for cervical cancer more frequently than recommended. Lengthening the screening interval would not only reduce the volume of specimens that cytotechnologists are required to read, but would also reduce the follow-up testing after abnormal smears.
PMCID: PMC1492158  PMID: 15009779
cervical cancer screening; Pap smear; test frequency; overutilization
7.  Cervical cancer screening: A never-ending developing program 
With the term “oncological screening”, we define the overall performances made to detect early onset of tumors. These tests are conducted on a population that does not have any signs or symptoms related to a neoplasm. The whole population above a certain age, only one sex, only subjects with a high risk of developing cancer due to genetic, professional, discretionary reasons may be involved. Screening campaigns should be associated, when risk factors that can be avoided are known, with campaigns for the prevention of cancer by means of suitable behavior. The goal of cancer screening cannot however be limited to the diagnosis of a greater number of neoplasms. Screening will be useful only if it leads to a reduction in overall mortality or at least in mortality related to the tumor. Screening should then allow the diagnosis of the disease at a stage when there is a possibility of healing, possibility that is instead difficult when the disease is diagnosed at the appearance of signs or symptoms. This is the reason why not all campaigns of cancer screening have the same effectiveness. In Italy, every year there are about 150000 deaths due to cancer. Some of these tumors can be cured with a very high percentage of success if diagnosed in time. Cervical cancer can be diagnosed with non-invasive tests. The screening test used all over the world is Papanicolaou (Pap) test. This test may be carried out over the entire healthy population potentially exposed to the risk of contracting cancer. Public health has begun the screening campaigns in the hope of saving many of the approximately 270000 new cases of cancer reported each year. Screening is done following protocols that guarantee quality at the national level: these protocols are subject to change over time to reflect new realities or to correct any errors in the system. A simplified sketch of a possible route of cancer screening is as follows: (1) after selecting the target population, for example all women between 25 and 64 years (in the case of monitoring of cervical cancer), an invitation letter with the date and time of the appointment, planned according to the acceptance capacity of the hospital, is sent to all individuals; (2) an examination, which depending on the individual and the type of cancer to be monitored, for example, can be a Pap smear, is performed and the patient can go home; (3) once available the results of examinations, if negative, they shall be communicated to the person concerned that will be notified by mail and will be recalled for a second test at a few years of distance, in the case of non-negativity, instead, the patient is contacted by telephone and informed of the need to carry out further examinations: it is said that the patient is in the “phase two” of the screening pathway; (4) in phase two, reached by only a small portion of the interested parties (usually less than 3%-5%), more in-depth tests are carried out, which, depending on the individual and the type of cancer, can be: cytological and colposcopic examinations, the removal of a fragment of tissue (biopsy) and subsequent histological examination, additional tests such as ultrasound, radiography, or others such as computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, etc., in case of negativity, the concerned person will be called for new control tests at a a few years of distance, in case of non-negativity, it will be proposed instead an oncologic therapeutic plan and/or surgery to treat the diagnosed tumor; and (5) once the treatment plan is completed, the individual enters the follow-up protocol, which is monitored over time to see if the tumor has been completely removed or if instead it is still developing. Cervical cancer is undoubtedly the most successful example of a cancer screening campaign. Paradoxically, its effectiveness is one of the strongest reasons to criticize the usefulness of vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) in countries where the screening service with Pap test is organized in an efficient manner. Cervical cancer screening protocols are directed to sexually active women aged 25-64 years: they provide the Pap test performed by examining under a microscope or by staining with a specific “thin prep” the material taken from the cervix with a small spatula and a brush. It is recommended to repeat the test every two or three years. It is important to emphasize that women vaccinated against HPV must continue the screening with Pap test. Although some screening programs (e.g., Pap smears) have had remarkable success in reducing mortality from a specific cancer, any kind of screening is free from inherent limitations. The screening methods are in fact applied to large parts of the apparently healthy population. In particular, the limits for certain cancers may be as obvious as to prohibit the introduction of an organized screening program. Potential limitations of organized screenings are basically of two types: organizational and medical. The limits of organizational type relate to the ability of a program to recruit the whole target population. Although well organized, a screening program will hardly be able to exceed a coverage of 70%-80% of the target population, and in fact the results of the current programs are often much smaller. The limits of medical type are represented by the possibility of reducing the overall mortality, or specific mortality, using a specific screening campaign.
PMCID: PMC4517336  PMID: 26244153
Cervical cancer; Screening; Papanicolaou test; Human papillomavirus test; Vaccination
8.  Self-reported history of Pap-smear in HIV-positive women in Northern Italy: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:310.
The incidence of invasive cervical cancer in HIV-positive women is higher than in the general population. There is evidence that HIV-positive women do not participate sufficiently in cervical cancer screening in Italy, where cervical cancer is more than 10-fold higher in women with AIDS than in the general population. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the history of Pap-smear in HIV-positive women in Italy in recent years. We also examined the sociodemographic, clinical, and organizational factors associated with adherence to cervical cancer screening.
A cross-sectional study was conducted between July 2006 and June 2007 in Emilia-Romagna region (Northern Italy). All HIV-positive women who received a follow-up visit in one of the 10 regional infectivology units were invited to participate. History of Pap-smear, including abnormal smears and subsequent treatment, was investigated through a self-administered anonymous questionnaire. The association between lack of Pap-smear in the year preceding the interview and selected characteristics was assessed by means of odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals adjusted for study centre and age.
A total of 1,002 HIV-positive women were interviewed. Nine percent reported no history of Pap-smear, and 39% had no Pap-smear in the year prior to the date of questionnaire (last year). The lack of Pap-smear in the last year was significantly associated with age <35 years (OR = 1.4, compared to age ≥45 years), lower education level (OR = 1.3), first HIV-positive test in the last 2 years (OR = 1.4), and CD4 count <200 cells/μl (OR = 1.6). Conversely, when women were advised by a gynecologist rather than other health workers to undergo screening, it significantly increased adherence. Non-significantly higher proportions of lack of Pap-smear in the last year were found in women born in Central-Eastern Europe (OR = 1.8) and Africa (OR = 1.3). No difference in history of Pap-smear emerged by mode of HIV-acquisition or AIDS status.
Three hundred five (34%) women reported a previous abnormal Pap-smear, and of the 178 (58%) referred for treatment, 97% complied.
In recent years the self-reported history of Pap-smear in HIV-positive women, in some public clinics in Italy, is higher than previously reported, but further efforts are required to make sure cervical cancer screening is accessible to all HIV-positive women.
PMCID: PMC2904281  PMID: 20565935
9.  Knowledge, attitudes and practices on cervical cancer screening among the medical workers of Mulago Hospital, Uganda 
Cervical cancer is the commonest cancer of women in Uganda. Over 80% of women diagnosed in Mulago national referral and teaching hospital, the biggest hospital in Uganda, have advanced disease. Pap smear screening, on opportunistic rather than systematic basis, is offered free in the gynaecological outpatients clinic and the postnatal/family planning clinics. Medical students in the third and final clerkships are expected to learn the techniques of screening. Objectives of this study were to describe knowledge on cervical cancer, attitudes and practices towards cervical cancer screening among the medical workers of Mulago hospital.
In a descriptive cross-sectional study, a weighted sample of 310 medical workers including nurses, doctors and final year medical students were interviewed using a self-administered questionnaire. We measured knowledge about cervical cancer: (risk factors, eligibility for screening and screening techniques), attitudes towards cervical cancer screening and practices regarding screening.
Response rate was 92% (285). Of these, 93% considered cancer of the cervix a public health problem and knowledge about Pap smear was 83% among respondents. Less than 40% knew risk factors for cervical cancer, eligibility for and screening interval. Of the female respondents, 65% didn't feel susceptible to cervical cancer and 81% had never been screened. Of the male respondents, only 26% had partners who had ever been screened. Only 14% of the final year medical students felt skilled enough to use a vaginal speculum and 87% had never performed a pap smear.
Despite knowledge of the gravity of cervical cancer and prevention by screening using a Pap smear, attitudes and practices towards screening were negative. The medical workers who should be responsible for opportunistic screening of women they care for are not keen on getting screened themselves. There is need to explain/understand the cause of these attitudes and practices and identify possible interventions to change them. Medical students leave medical school without adequate skills to be able to effectively screen women for cervical cancer wherever they go to practice. Medical students and nurses training curricula needs review to incorporate practical skills on cervical cancer screening.
PMCID: PMC1413529  PMID: 16509979
10.  Anal Dysplasia Screening 
Executive Summary
This review considered the role of the anal Pap test as a screening test for anal dysplasia in patients at high risk of anal SCC. The screening process is now thought to be improved with the addition of testing for the human papillomavirus (HPV) in high-risk populations. High-resolution anoscopy (a method to view the rectal area, using an anoscope, a lighted instrument inserted into the rectum) rather than routine anoscopy-guided biopsy, is also now considered to be the diagnostic standard.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Anal cancer, like cervical cancer, is a member of a broader group of anogenital cancers known to be associated with sexually transmitted viral HPV infection. Human papillomavirus is extremely prevalent, particularly in young, sexually active populations. Sexual practices involving receptive anal intercourse lead to significantly elevated risk for anal dysplasia and cancer, particularly in those with immune dysfunctions.
Anal cancer is rare. It occurs at a rate of about 1 to 2 per 100,000 in the general population. It is the least common of the lower gastrointestinal cancers, representing about 4% of them, in contrast to colorectal cancers, which remain the third most commonly diagnosed malignancy. Certain segments of the population, however, such as HIV-positive men and women, other chronic immune-suppressed patients (e.g., after a transplant), injection drug users, and women with genital dysplasia /cancer, have a high susceptibility to anal cancer.
Those with the highest identified risk for anal cancer are HIV-positive homosexual and bisexual men, at a rate of 70 per 100,000 men. The risk for anal cancer is reported to be increasing dramatically in HIV-positive males and females, particularly since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy in the mid-1990s. The introduction of effective viral therapy has been said to have transformed the AIDS epidemic in developed countries into a chronic disease state of long-term immunosuppression. In Ontario, there are about 25,000 people living with HIV infection; more than 6,000 of these are women. About 28% of the newly diagnosed HIV infections are in women, a doubling since 1999. It has also been estimated that 1 of 3 people living with HIV do no know it.
Health Technology Description
Anal Pap test screening involves the blind insertion of a swab into the anal canal and fixing cells either on a slide or in fluid for cytological examination. Anal cytology classified by the standardized Bethesda System is the same classification used for cervical cytology. It has 4 categories: normal, atypical squamous cells of uncertain significance, or squamous intraepithelial lesions which are further classified into low- or high-grade lesions. Abnormal cytological findings are subjected to further evaluations by high-resolution anoscopy, a technique similar to cervical colposcopy, and biopsy. Several HPV deoxyribonucleic acid detection technologies such as the Hybrid 11 Capture and the polymerase chain reaction are available to detect and differentiate HPV viral strains.
Unlike cervical cancer, there are no universally accepted guidelines or standards of care for anal dysplasia. Moreover, there are no formal screening programs provincially, nationally, or internationally. The New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute has recently recommended (March 2007) annual anal pap testing in high-risk groups. In Ontario, reimbursement exists only for Pap tests for cervical cancer screening. That is, there is no reimbursement for anal Pap testing in men or women, and HPV screening tests for cervical or anal cancer are also not reimbursed.
The scientific evidence base was evaluated through a systematic literature review. Assessments of current practices were obtained through consultations with various agencies and individuals including the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care AIDS Bureau; Public Health Infectious Diseases Branch, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care; Cancer Care Ontario; HIV/AIDS researchers; pathology experts; and HIV/AIDS clinical program directors. An Ontario-based budget impact was also done.
No direct evidence was found for the existence of controlled studies evaluating the effectiveness of anal Pap test screening programs for impact on anal cancer morbidity or mortality. In addition, no studies were found on the use of HPV DNA testing in the screening or diagnostic setting for anal dysplasia. The reported prevalence of HPV infection in high-risk groups, particularly HIV-positive males, however, was sufficiently high to preclude any utility of HPV testing as an adjunct to anal Pap testing.
Nine reports involving studies in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada were identified that evaluated the performance characteristics of anal Pap test screening for anal dysplasia. All involved hospital-based specialty HIV/AIDS care clinics with mainly HIV-positive males. All studies involved experienced pathologists, so the results generally represent best-case scenarios. Estimates of anal Pap test sensitivity and specificity were highly variable, and depended on the varying prevalence of cytology abnormality and differential thresholds for abnormality for both cytology and histopathology.
In the largest study of HIV-positive males, sensitivity varied from 46% (95% confidence interval [CI], 36%–56%) to 69% (95% CI, 60%–78%). Specificity ranged from 59% (95% CI, 53%–65%) to 81% (95% CI, 76%–85%). In the only study of HIV-negative males, sensitivity ranged from 26% (95% CI, 5%-47%) to 47% (95% CI, 26%–68%). Specificity ranged from 81% (95% CI, 76%–85%) to 92% (95% CI, 89%–95%).
In comparison, cervical Pap testing has also been evaluated mainly in settings where there is a high prevalence of the disease, and estimates of sensitivitykij and specificity were also low and highly variable. In a systematic review involving cervical Pap testing, sensitivity ranged from 30% to 87% (mean, 47%) and specificity from 86% to 100% (mean, 95%).
No direct evidence exists to support the effectiveness of an anal Pap test screening program to reduce anal cancer mortality or morbidity. There are, however, strong parallels with cervical pap testing for cervical cancer. Sexually transmitted HPV viral infection is currently the acknowledged common causative agent for both anal and cervical cancer. Anal cancer rates in high-risk populations are approaching those of cervical cancer before the implementation of Pap testing.
The anal Pap test, although it has been mainly evaluated only in HIV-positive males, has similar operating characteristics of sensitivity and specificity as the cervical Pap test. In general, the treatment options for precancer dysplasia in the cervix and the anus are similar, but treatment involving a definitive surgical resection in the anus is more limited because of the higher risk of complications. A range of ablative therapies has been applied for anal dysplasia, but evidence on treatment effectiveness, tolerability and durability, particularly in the HIV-positive patient, is limited.
PMCID: PMC3377578  PMID: 23074504
11.  Pap smear screening in the primary health care setting: A study from Turkey 
Cervical cancer is one of the ten most frequent cancers in Turkey. It is well known that cervical cancer morbidity and mortality could be significantly reduced with an active cervical smear screening (Pap smear) program.
The aims of this study were: 1) to evaluate the knowledge and attitudes of women about cervical smear testing; 2) to establish a cervical smear screening program and to evaluate the cervical cytological abnormalities that were found; 3) to determine the applicability, limitations and effectiveness of this screening in a primary health care unit.
Patients and Methods:
A total of 332 married women were included in our study. We collected data concerning socio-demographic and fertility characteristics, and knowledge about Pap smear testing was determined through printed questionnaires. A gynecological examination and Pap smear screening was performed on every woman in our study group.
Over ninety percent of our study group had never heard of and had not undergone Pap smear screening before. Of the 332 smears evaluated, 328 (98.8%) were accepted as normal, whereas epithelial cell anomalies were seen in 4 (1.2%), infection in 59 (17.7%), and reactive cell differences in 223 (67.2%) of the smears.
The frequency of epithelial cell anomalies in our study group was less than the frequencies reported from Western countries. Knowledge regarding cervical cancer and Pap smear screening was very low. Pap smears can be easily taken and evaluated through a chain built between the primary health care unit and laboratory, and this kind of screening intervention is easily accepted by the population served.
PMCID: PMC3339109  PMID: 22558549
Cervical smear; cervical intraepithelial lesion; cervical cancer screening
12.  Awareness of Pap testing and factors associated with intent to undergo Pap testing by level of sexual experience in unmarried university students in Korea: results from an online survey 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14:100.
Young and unmarried women have not been a target group for cervical cancer prevention in Korea. No previous studies have investigated the awareness of Pap testing, the intention to undergo Pap testing, or the factors associated with that intention, in this group of women. This information would be useful for an expansion in the focus of primary cervical cancer prevention. This study aimed to compare the awareness of Pap testing between groups of unmarried university students in Korea, and to investigate the factors associated with the intention to undergo Pap testing, by level of sexual experience.
A total of 475 unmarried university students who had never undergone a Pap test completed a web-based survey. Differences in awareness of the importance of the Pap test, confidence in Pap testing, intention to undergo the test, attitudes, subjective norms, perceived control, stigma, and shame by level of sexual experience were analysed using independent t-tests. Associations between measurement variables and intention to undergo Pap testing were analysed using correlation analysis. Variables yielding significant associations (p < 0.05) were included in a stepwise multiple regression model of intention to undergo Pap testing.
Most participants perceived that the need for regular Pap testing was less important (score, 77.76) than other methods of cervical cancer prevention. They were not confident that is was an effective method of cervical cancer prevention for themselves (score, 59.56). There were differences in confidence in Pap testing and in the factors associated with intention to undergo Pap testing between sexually experienced and sexually inexperienced students. Regardless of level of sexual experience, the subjective norm was the most important predictor of intention to undergo Pap testing.
There was a low level of Pap screening awareness among the students. The factors associated with intention to undergo Pap testing differed by level of sexual experience. Social influence was an important factor that could be used to increase the intention to receive a Pap test in the university student population. Strategies to increase the intention to undergo Pap screening should be introduced and should be adapted to the level of sexual experience.
PMCID: PMC4151378  PMID: 25163938
Cervical cancer; Pap test; University student
13.  Cervical cancer prevention knowledge and abnormal Pap test experiences among women living with HIV/AIDS 
Cervical cancer prevention knowledge deficits persist among women living with HIV/AIDS (WLHA) despite increased risk of developing cervical dysplasia/cancer. We examined associations between WLHA’s cervical cancer prevention knowledge and abnormal Pap test history.
We recruited 145 urban and rural WLHA from Ryan White-funded clinics and AIDS service organizations located in the southeastern United States between March 2011 and April 2012. For this analysis, women who reported a history of cervical cancer (n=3) or had a complete hysterectomy (n=14), and observations with missing data (n=22) were excluded. Stata/IC 13 was used to perform cross-tabulations and chi-squared tests.
Our sample included 106 predominantly non-Hispanic Black (92%) WLHA. Mean age was 46.3±10.9 years. Half (50%) had ≤ high school education. One-third (37%) had low health literacy. The majority (83%) had a Pap test <1 year ago and 84% knew that WLHA should have a Pap test every year, once two tests are normal. Many (68%) have had an abnormal Pap test. Abnormal Pap test follow-up care knowledge varied. While 86% knew follow-up care could include a repeat Pap test, only 56% knew this could also include an HPV test. Significantly more women who had an abnormal Pap test knew follow-up care could include a biopsy (p=0.001).
For WLHA to make informed/shared decisions about their cervical health, they need to be knowledgeable about cervical cancer care options across the cancer control continuum. Providing WLHA with prevention knowledge beyond screening recommendations seems warranted given their increased risk of developing cervical dysplasia/neoplasia.
PMCID: PMC4266621  PMID: 24928481
cervical cancer; HIV-positive women; cancer prevention and screening; women’s health; cancer care continuum
14.  Awareness and knowledge of cervical cancer and its prevention among the nursing staff of a tertiary health institute in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India 
ecancermedicalscience  2012;6:270.
Carcinoma of the cervix is the second most common cancer in women worldwide, while it is the commonest cancer among Indian women. Awareness regarding cervical cancer and its prevention is quite low amongst Indian women. The Pap test is a simple and cost effective technique for early diagnosis of cervical cancer. It is necessary to make nursing staff aware of cervical cancer, so that they can impart knowledge regarding cervical cancer and its prevention to the general public.
Aims and objectives:
(1) To assess the knowledge level regarding symptoms, risk factors, prevention and screening of cervical carcinoma among nursing staff. (2) To find out the behaviour of respondents regarding prevention and screening of cervical carcinoma.
Materials and methods:
A cross-sectional interview-based survey regarding knowledge levels about cervical carcinoma was conducted among the nursing staff from one of the tertiary health institutes of Ahmedabad, India. A structured questionnaire with multiple choices was used for data collection. Provision for open-ended responses was also made in the questionnaire. Department-wise stratification was carried out, and thereafter 15% of the total nursing staff from all departments were selected randomly so as to include a total of 100 nurses in the current study. Data entry was done in Microsoft Excel. SPSS statistical software was used to generate statistical parameters like proportion, mean, standard deviation, etc. The Z test was used as a test of significance, and a P value of <0.05 was considered as the level of significance.
PMCID: PMC3437739  PMID: 23008746
cervical cancer; knowledge; nursing staff; PAP test
15.  Factors Associated with the Uptake of Cervical Cancer Screening Among Women in Portland, Jamaica 
Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women worldwide and is the leading cause of deaths in developing countries. Despite the strong evidence that cervical cancer screening results in decreased mortality from this disease, the uptake for cervical screening among Jamaican women remains low.
This study was carried out to identify factors associated with Jamaican women's decisions to screen for cervical cancer.
Materials and Methods:
Cross-sectional descriptive study of 403 women aged 19 years and older from Portland, Jamaica. An interviewer-administered questionnaire assessed the women's cervical cancer screening history, as well as their knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding the disease and screening.
Of the 403 women interviewed, 66% had a Papanicolaou (Pap) smear and only 16% had a Pap test within the past year. Significant predicators of uptake of screening were being married, age, parity, discussing cancer with health provider, perception of consequences of not having a Pap smear, and knowing a person with cervical cancer. Women who did not know where to go for a Pap smear were 85% less likely to have been screened (prevalence odds ratio (POR): 0.15, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.04, 0.52).
This study showed suboptimal uptake of cervical cancer screening among Jamaican women. Multipronged approaches are needed to address barriers to screening, as well as identify and support conditions that encourage women's use of reproductive health services, thereby reducing incidence and mortality rates from cervical cancer.
PMCID: PMC4382764  PMID: 25839002
Cervical cancer; Cervical screenings; Health systems; Jamaica; Pap smears
16.  Differences in cervical cancer screening knowledge, practices, and beliefs: An examination of survey responses 
Preventive Medicine Reports  2016;5:169-174.
Among the identified barriers to HPV vaccination is the concern that women may compensate for their reduced susceptibility to cervical cancers by reducing cervical cancer screening. This exploratory study examined the relationship between cervical cancer screening rates and HPV vaccination. We conducted a cross-sectional survey using a convenience sample of women aged 21–35 attending a local minority health fair in July 2015. Data were analyzed in 2015–2016. Outcomes assessed were: receiving a Pap test within the last three years, awareness and comfort with current Pap test recommendations, and knowledge regarding the purpose of a Pap test. A total of 291 women were included in the analyses. Mean age was 28.5 years and 62% were non-Hispanic black. 84% had received a Pap test in the last three years and 33% had received at least one HPV vaccine. Logistic regression results showed that women who had been vaccinated did not have lower odds of having a Pap test in the past three years (OR = 1.32; 95% CI = 0.66–2.65). In an adjusted regression model controlling for age and race, vaccinated women were significantly more likely to have had a Pap test (AOR = 3.06; 95% CI = 1.37–6.83). Yet only 26% of women knew the purpose of a Pap test and the proportion who answered correctly was higher among non-Hispanic white women. Women who have been vaccinated for HPV are more likely to have been screened for cervical cancer. These results suggest areas for more robust studies examining pro-health attitudes, behaviors, and communication regarding vaccination and preventive screening.
•A comparison of cervical cancer screening practices among mostly minority women•HPV vaccinated participants didn't have lower rates of cervical cancer screening.•Knowledge about the purpose of a Pap test was low especially among minority women.•Current recommendations and screening purpose are areas for future interventions.
PMCID: PMC5200875  PMID: 28050339
Papillomavirus vaccines; Papanicolaou test; Health disparities; Health behaviors; Risk compensation
17.  Mobile Phone Text Messaging Intervention for Cervical Cancer Screening: Changes in Knowledge and Behavior Pre-Post Intervention 
Cervical cancer poses a significant threat to Korean American women, who are reported to have one of the highest cervical cancer mortality rates in the United States. Studies consistently report that Korean American women have the lowest Pap test screening rates across US ethnic groups.
In response to the need to enhance cervical cancer screening in this vulnerable population, we developed and tested a 7-day mobile phone text message-based cervical cancer Screening (mScreening) intervention designed to promote the receipt of Pap tests by young Korean American women.
We developed and assessed the acceptability and feasibility of a 1-week mScreening intervention to increase knowledge of cervical cancer screening, intent to receive screening, and the receipt of a Pap test. Fogg’s Behavior Model was the conceptual framework that guided the development of the mScreening intervention. A series of focus groups were conducted to inform the development of the intervention. The messages were individually tailored for each participant and delivered to them for a 7-day period at each participant’s preferred time. A quasi-experimental research design of 30 Korean American women aged 21 to 29 years was utilized with baseline, post (1 week after the completion of mScreening), and follow-up (3 months after the completion of mScreening) testing.
Findings revealed a significant increase in participants’ knowledge of cervical cancer (P<.001) and guidelines for cervical cancer screening (P=.006). A total of 23% (7/30) (95% CI 9.9-42.3) of the mScreening participants received a Pap test; 83% (25/30) of the participants expressed satisfaction with the intervention and 97% (29/30) reported that they would recommend the program to their friends, indicating excellent acceptability and feasibility of the intervention.
This study provides evidence of the effectiveness and feasibility of the mScreening intervention. Mobile technology is a promising tool to increase both knowledge and receipt of cervical cancer screening. Given the widespread usage of mobile phones among young adults, a mobile phone-based health intervention could be a low-cost and effective method of reaching populations with low cervical cancer screening rates, using individually tailored messages that cover broad content areas and overcome restrictions to place and time of delivery.
PMCID: PMC4180333  PMID: 25164545
cervical cancer; Pap test; mobile health; text-messaging intervention; health behavior change; Korean American women; health disparity
18.  Knowledge, attitude, and practices related to cervical cancer among adult women: A hospital-based cross-sectional study 
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer among Indian women of reproductive age. Unfortunately, despite the evidence of methods for prevention, most of the women remain unscreened. The reported barriers to screening include unawareness of risk factors, symptoms and prevention; stigma and misconceptions about gynecological diseases and lack of national cervical cancer screening guidelines and policies. This study attempts to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practices related to cervical cancer and its screening among women of reproductive age (15-45 years).
Materials and Methods:
A facility-based cross-sectional study was done on 400 females of reproductive age who presented to out-patient-department of All India Institute of Medical Sciences Bhopal. Structured questionnaire consisting 20 knowledge items and 7-items for attitude and history of pap smear for practices were administered by one of the investigators after informed consent. Data were entered and analyzed using Epi-Info version 7. Qualitative variables were summarized as counts and percentages while quantitative variables as mean and standard deviation. Predictors of better knowledge, attitude, and practices were identified by binary logistic regression analysis.
A total of 442 women were approached for interview of which 400 responded of which two-third (65.5%) had heard of cervical cancer. At least one symptom and one risk factor were known to 35.25% and 39.75% participants. Only 34.5% participants had heard, and 9.5% actually underwent screening test, however, 76.25% of the participants expressed a favorable attitude for screening. Binary logistic regression analysis revealed that education age and income were independent predictors of better knowledge. Education level influences attitude toward screening and actual practice depends on age, income, and marital status. This study shows that despite the fact that women had suboptimal level of knowledge regarding cervical cancer, their attitude is favorable for screening. However, uptake is low in actual practice. Strategic communication targeting eligible women may increase the uptake of screening.
PMCID: PMC4518402  PMID: 26283822
Awareness; cervical cancer; pap smear; screening
19.  PA03.11. Evaluation of socioeconomic status and other factors with special reference to cervical cancer A survey based study 
Ancient Science of Life  2013;32(Suppl 2):S80.
Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus (womb) that opens at the top of the vagina. It is the third most common type of cancer in women. Cervical cancers start in the cells on the surface of the cervix. Most cervical cancers are from squamous cells. It starts as a precancerous condition called dysplasia. This precancerous condition can be detected by a Pap smear and is 100% treatable. It can take years for precancerous changes to turn into cervical cancer. The Papanicolaou test (also called Pap smear, Pap test, cervical smear, or smear test) is a screening test used to detect potentially precancerous and cancerous processes in the endocervical canal (transformation zone) of the female reproductive system. The test aims to detect potentially precancerous changes (called cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) or cervical dysplasia), which are usually caused by sexually transmitted human papillomaviruses. The present study was planned in the direction to evaluate.
In the present work, overall 50 patients of age group between 2050 yrs were selected to study their abnormal pap smear reports in relation to socioeconomic status, smoking, parity, and oral contraceptive and their relationship with abnormal cellular changes. So the patients were randomly selected for Pap smear from IPD or OPD of prasuti tantra and stri roga department of sdmca Hassan.
Out of 50 patients,10 patients belongs to higher class, 20 patients belongs to middle class,10 patients belongs lower middle class and 10 patients belongs to lower class.
Cervical cancer is ranked as the most frequent cancer in women in India. India has a population of approximately 365.71 million women above 15 years of age, who are at risk of developing cervical cancer. Getting regular Pap smears can help detect precancerous changes, which can be treated before they turn into cervical cancer. Pap smears effectively spot such changes, but they must be done regularly. Middle class women are more prone to this disease. PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE.
PMCID: PMC4147555
20.  Community Health Worker Intervention to Decrease Cervical Cancer Disparities in Hispanic Women 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2010;25(11):1186-1192.
U.S. Hispanic women suffer a disproportionate burden of cervical cancer, with incidence and mortality rates almost twice that of whites. Community health workers, or promotoras, are considered a potential strategy for eliminating such racial and ethnic health disparities. The current study is a randomized trial of a promotora-led educational intervention focused on cervical cancer in a local Hispanic community.
Four promotoras led a series of two workshops with community members covering content related to cervical cancer. Sociodemographic characteristics, cervical cancer risk, previous screening history, cervical cancer knowledge, and self-efficacy were measured by a pre-intervention questionnaire. The post-intervention questionnaire measured the following outcomes: cervical cancer knowledge (on a 0–6 scale), self-efficacy (on a 0–5 scale), and receipt of Pap smear screening during the previous 6 months (dichotomous). Univariate analyses were performed using chi square, t-test, and the Mann–Whitney test. Multivariate logistic regression was used to model the association between explanatory variables and receipt of Pap smear screening.
There were no statistically significant differences between the two experimental groups at baseline. Follow-up data revealed significant improvements in all outcome measures: Pap smear screening (65% vs. 36%, p-value 0.02), cervical cancer knowledge (5.4 vs. 3.5, p-value < 0.001), and self-efficacy (4.7 vs. 4.0, p-value 0.002). In multivariate analysis, cervical cancer knowledge (OR 1.68, 95% CI 1.10-2.81) and intervention group assignment (OR 6.74, 95% CI 1.77-25.66) were associated with receiving a Pap smear during the follow-up period.
Our randomized trial of a promotora-led educational intervention demonstrated improved Pap screening rates, in addition to increased knowledge about cervical cancer and self-efficacy. The observed association between cervical cancer knowledge and Pap smear receipt underscores the importance of educating vulnerable populations about the diseases that disproportionately affect them. Future research should evaluate such programs on a larger scale, and identify novel targets for intervention.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-010-1434-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2947642  PMID: 20607434
cervical cancer; health disparities; community health worker; promotora
21.  Knowledge and Beliefs about Cervical Cancer Screening Among Men in Kumasi, Ghana 
Ghana Medical Journal  2012;46(3):147-151.
The age-standardized mortality rate for cervical cancer in Ghana, West Africa is more than three times the global cervical cancer mortality rate (27.6/100,000 vs. 7.8/100,000 respectively). The Pap test and visual inspection with acetic acid are available at public and private hospitals in Ghana. Approximately, 2.7% of Ghanaian women obtain cervical cancer screenings regularly. Men in middle-income countries play a key role in cervical cancer prevention. Increasing spousal support for cervical cancer screening may increase screening rates in Ghana.
Five focus groups were conducted with Ghanaian men (N = 29) to assess their cervical cancer and cervical cancer screening knowledge and beliefs. The qualitative data was analyzed via indexed coding.
Targets for education interventions were identified including inaccurate knowledge about cervical cancer and stigmatizing beliefs about cervical cancer risk factors. Cultural taboos regarding women's health care behaviours were also identified. Several participants indicated that they would be willing to provide spousal support for cervical cancer screening if they knew more about the disease and the screening methods.
Men play a significant role in the health behaviours of some Ghanaian women. Cervical cancer education interventions targeting Ghanaian men are needed to correct misconceptions and increase spousal support for cervical cancer screening.
PMCID: PMC3645156  PMID: 23661828
Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/Prevention and Control; Ghana; Focus Groups; Health Knowledge; Attitudes; Practice; Male
22.  Knowledge and Intention to Participate in Cervical Cancer Screening after the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine 
Vaccine  2011;29(25):4238-4243.
If women who receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine are unduly reassured about the cancer prevention benefits of vaccination, they may choose not to participate in screening, thereby increasing their risk for cervical cancer. This study assesses adult women’s knowledge of the need to continue cervical cancer screening after HPV vaccination, describes Pap test intentions of vaccinated young adult women, and evaluates whether knowledge and intentions differ across groups at greatest risk for cervical cancer.
Data were from the 2008 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) and the 2008 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which initiated data collection approximately 18 months after the first FDA approval of an HPV vaccine. We calculated associations between independent variables and the outcomes using chi-square tests.
Of 1,586 female HINTS respondents ages 18 through 74, 95.6% knew that HPV-vaccinated women should continue to receive Pap tests. This knowledge did not vary significantly by race/ethnicity, education, income, or healthcare access. Among 1,101 female NHIS respondents ages 18 to 26 who had ever received a Pap test, the proportion (12.7%; n = 139) who reported receipt of the HPV vaccine were more likely than those not vaccinated to plan to receive a Pap test within three years (98.1% vs. 92.5%, p<0.001).
US adult women possess high knowledge and intention to participate in Pap testing after HPV vaccination. The vast majority of young adult women who received the HPV vaccine within its first two years on the market intend to participate in cervical cancer screening in the near future. Future studies are needed to examine whether those vaccinated in adolescence will become aware of, and adhere to, screening guidelines as they become eligible.
PMCID: PMC3105777  PMID: 21473953
human papillomavirus (HPV); cervical cancer; cancer screening; disparities
23.  Factors Associated with Uptake of Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA) for Cervical Cancer Screening in Western Kenya 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(6):e0157217.
Cervical cancer screening has been successful in reducing the rates of cervical cancer in developed countries, but this disease remains the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in sub-Saharan Africa. We sought to understand factors associated with limited uptake of screening services in our cervical cancer-screening program in Western Kenya.
Participants and Methods
Using items from a previously validated cancer awareness questionnaire repurposed for use in cervical cancer and culturally adapted for use in Kenya, we interviewed 2,505 women aged 18–55 years receiving care in gynecology clinics or seeking other services in 4 health facilities in Western Kenya between April 2014 and September 2014. We used logistic regression modeling to assess factors associated with uptake (or non-uptake), associated odds ratios (ORs) and the 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).
Only two hundred and seventy-three women out of 2505 (11%) accepted VIA cervical cancer screening. Knowledge of just how women are screened for cervical cancer was significantly associated with reduced uptake of cervical cancer screening (OR: 0.53; CI 0.38–0.73) as was fear that screening would reveal a cancer (OR 0.70; CI 0.63–0.77), and reliance on prayer with the onset of illness (OR 0.43; CI 0.26–0.71). Participants who thought that one should get cervical cancer screening even if there were no symptoms were more than twice as likely to accept cervical cancer screening (OR 2.21; 95% CI 1.24–3.93). Older patients, patients living with HIV and women who do not know if bleeding immediately after sex might be a sign of cervical cancer were also more likely to accept screening (OR 1.03, CI 1.02–1.04; OR 1.78, CI 1.01–3.14; OR 2.39, CI 1.31–4.39, respectively).
In our population, a high percent of women knew that it is appropriate for all women to get cervical cancer screening, but only a small proportion of women actually got screening. There may be an opportunity to design educational materials for this population that will not only encourage participation in cervical cancer screening but also remediate misconceptions. The discussion illustrates how our findings could be used in such an effort.
PMCID: PMC4911084  PMID: 27310005
24.  Knowledge and Acceptability of Pap Smears, Self-Sampling and HPV Vaccination among Adult Women in Kenya 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40766.
Our study aimed to assess adult women’s knowledge of human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer, and characterize their attitudes towards potential screening and prevention strategies.
Women were participants of an HIV-discordant couples cohort in Nairobi, Kenya. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to obtain information on sociodemographic status, and sexual and medical history at baseline and on knowledge and attitudes towards Pap smears, self-sampling, and HPV vaccination at study exit.
Only 14% of the 409 women (67% HIV-positive; median age 29 years) had ever had a Pap smear prior to study enrollment and very few women had ever heard of HPV (18%). Although most women knew that Pap smears detect cervical cancer (69%), very few knew that routine Pap screening is the main way to prevent ICC (18%). Most women reported a high level of cultural acceptability for Pap smear screening and a low level of physical discomfort during Pap smear collection. In addition, over 80% of women reported that they would feel comfortable using a self-sampling device (82%) and would prefer at-home sample collection (84%). Nearly all women (94%) reported willingness to be vaccinated to prevent cervical cancer if offered at no or low cost.
These findings highlight the need to educate women on routine use of Pap smears in the prevention of cervical cancer and demonstrate that vaccination and self-sampling would be acceptable modalities for cervical cancer prevention and screening.
PMCID: PMC3393696  PMID: 22808257
25.  Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer in Criminal Justice Settings 
Journal of Women's Health  2011;20(12):1839-1845.
Women in criminal justice settings have an increased prevalence of cervical cancer compared with the general population. However, little is known about abnormal cervical cancer screening results among women in jail and community-based criminal justice settings. Thus, the aims of this study were to compare the prevalence of self-reported abnormal Papanicolou (Pap) test results in women in jail and under community criminal justice supervision and to examine factors associated with abnormal Pap tests in these criminal justice settings.
We analyzed data from two cross-sectional surveys of women in jails and community corrections in two Southern cities (n=380) about their history of abnormal Pap tests and risk factors for cervical cancer. Univariate analyses (analysis of variance [ANOVA] and chi-square) and a binary logistic regression analysis were conducted to test associations between a history of abnormal Pap testing and factors known to be associated with cervical cancer.
Nearly half of the women surveyed (n=163, 43%) reported ever having an abnormal Pap test. There was a high prevalence of risk factors for cervical cancer among women with and without an abnormal Pap test. After controlling for age and race, there were significant associations between an abnormal Pap test and inconsistent use of barrier protection (odds ratio [OR] 2.01, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.18-3.43), having a history of gynecologic infections (OR 1.68, 95% CI 1.05-2.67), and having a history of sexually transmitted diseases (OR 1.92, 95% CI 1.17-3.15).
Women in jail and under community justice supervision reported a high prevalence of risk factors for cervical cancer. Because of their high prevalence of abnormal Pap testing, women in criminal justice settings may be appropriate targets for improved cervical cancer screening, prevention with human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, risk reduction education, and treatment.
PMCID: PMC3236985  PMID: 22004180

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