Screening for cervical cancer: Will women accept less?

Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, United States
The American Journal of Medicine (Impact Factor: 5). 03/2005; 118(2):151-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2004.08.021
Source: PubMed


U.S. professional organizations increasingly agree that most women require Papanicolaou smear screening every 2 to 3 years rather than annually and that most elderly women may stop screening. We sought to describe the attitudes of women in the United States toward less intense screening, specifically, less frequent screening and eventual cessation of screening.
We conducted a random-digit-dialing telephone survey of women in 2002 (response rate of 75% among eligible women reached by telephone). A nationally representative sample of 360 women aged 40 years or older with no history of cancer was surveyed about their acceptance of less intense screening.
Almost all women aged 40 years or older (99%) had had at least one Pap smear; most (59%) were screened annually. When women were asked to choose their preferred frequency for screening, 75% preferred screening at least annually (12% chose screening every 6 months). Less than half (43%) had heard of recommendations advocating less frequent screening. When advised of such recommendations, half of all women believed that they were based on cost. Sixty-nine percent said that they would try to continue being screened annually even if their doctors recommended less frequent screening and advised them of comparable benefits. Only 35% of women thought that there might come a time when they would stop getting Pap smears; of these, almost half would not stop until after age 80 years. The strongest predictor of reluctance to reduce the frequency of screening was a belief that cost was the basis of current screening frequency recommendations.
Most women in the United States prefer annual Pap smears and are resistant to the idea of less intense screening. Concern that cost considerations rather than evidence form the basis of screening recommendations may partly explain women's reluctance to accept less intense screening.

5 Reads
  • Source
    • "However, one commonly perceived benefit to extending intervals was the potential for reducing healthcare costs, a facilitator especially salient for public clinics such as FQHCs. While the perceived benefit in cost reduction is potentially helpful at a clinician-and system-level within FQHCs, patients would likely be less interested in messages about extending intervals that emphasized the reduction of costs to the clinic or public health system (Sirovich et al., 2005). When deciding whether to extend a screening interval, factors related to a woman's medical and sexual history were most important to providers. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objective: Cervical cancer screening using the human papillomavirus (HPV) test and Pap test together (co-testing) is an option for average-risk women ≥ 30 years of age. With normal co-test results, screening intervals can be extended. The study objective is to assess primary care provider practices, beliefs, facilitators and barriers to using the co-test and extending screening intervals among low-income women. Method: Data were collected from 98 providers in 15 Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) clinics in Illinois between August 2009 and March 2010 using a cross-sectional survey. Results: 39% of providers reported using the co-test, and 25% would recommend a three-year screening interval for women with normal co-test results. Providers perceived greater encouragement for co-testing than for extending screening intervals with a normal co-test result. Barriers to extending screening intervals included concerns about patients not returning annually for other screening tests (77%), patient concerns about missing cancer (62%), and liability (52%). Conclusion: Among FQHC providers in Illinois, few administered the co-test for screening and recommended appropriate intervals, possibly due to concerns over loss to follow-up and liability. Education regarding harms of too-frequent screening and false positives may be necessary to balance barriers to extending screening intervals.
    Preventive Medicine 04/2013; 57(5). DOI:10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.04.012 · 3.09 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provides breast and cervical cancer screening to low-income women who are uninsured or underinsured. For women with three consecutive annual Pap tests with normal findings, the NBCCEDP supports extending the screening interval to every 3 years. Thirteen telephone focus groups were conducted with physician providers in 17 states and the District of Columbia to investigate familiarity with NBCCEDP's triennial Pap test policy, the Pap test intervals actually used, and the factors influencing screening interval selection. No participants were familiar with NBCCEDP's triennial Pap test policy, and none reported routinely extending the screening interval after three consecutive annual Pap tests with normal findings. Two patterns of screening interval use were reported: annual screeners continued performing yearly Pap tests, and selective extended screeners offered an extended interval to select patients. Annual and selective extended screeners reported that both unique and common factors influenced the screening intervals they used. The NBCCEDP has established its cancer screening priorities to focus limited resources on the goal of providing services to eligible women who have rarely or never been screened. Increased efforts are needed to educate physicians about the science supporting an extended Pap screening interval and overcome the barriers associated with its adoption.
    Journal of Women's Health 11/2005; 14(8):670-8. DOI:10.1089/jwh.2005.14.670 · 2.05 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Atención Primaria 02/2006; 37(2):120-121. DOI:10.1157/13084499 · 0.95 Impact Factor
Show more