Screening for cervical cancer: a review of women's attitudes, knowledge, and behaviour.
The United Kingdom (UK) cervical screening programme has been successful in securing participation of a high proportion of targeted women, and has seen a fall in mortality rates of those suffering from cervical cancer. There remains, however, a significant proportion of unscreened women and, of women in whom an abnormality is detected, many will not attend for colposcopy. The present work reviews the psychological consequences of receiving an abnormal cervical smear result and of secondary screening and treatment, and examines reasons for women's non-participation in the screening programme. Psychological theories of screening behavior are used to elucidate women's reactions and to suggest methods of increasing participation, of improving the quality of the service, and of reducing women's anxiety. A literature search identified studies that examine factors influencing women's participation in the screening programme, their psychological reaction to the receipt of an abnormal cervical smear result, and experiences of colposcopy. Reasons for non-participation include administrative failures, unavailability of a female screener, inconvenient clinic times, lack of awareness of the test's indications and benefits, considering oneself not to be at risk of developing cervical cancer, and fear of embarrassment, pain, or the detection of cancer. The receipt of an abnormal result and referral for colposcopy cause high levels of distress owing to limited understanding of the meaning of the smear test; many women believe the test aims to detect existing cervical cancer. The quality of the cervical screening service can be enhanced by the provision of additional information, by improved quality of communication, and by consideration of women's health beliefs. This may result in increased participation in, and satisfaction with, the service. (+info)
Factors influencing default at a hospital colposcopy clinic.
OBJECTIVE: To identify factors reducing compliance at diagnosis, treatment, and review stages among women referred with abnormal cervical smears to a hospital colposcopy clinic. DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of sociodemographic data from hospital notes of the attenders and defaulters during one year (1989-90) and prospective collection of information by structured interviews of a sample of defaulters and attenders during five months (May-September 1990). SETTING: One hospital colposcopy clinic. PATIENTS: 238 women defaulting on two consecutive occasions and 188 attending regularly (retrospective analysis) and a subset of 40 defaulters and 24 attenders (interview sample). MAIN MEASURES: Sociodemographic data and interview responses about attitudes, behaviour, choice, accessibility cultural understanding, communications, and emotional response. RESULTS: 22 (12%) women defaulted at diagnosis, 24(13%) at treatment, 39(21%) at the first check up after treatment, and 84(45%) at the review stage; 19(10%) defaulted from the first check up after diagnostic examination revealed no need for treatment. Age and social class differed between the two groups. 181(76%) defaulters were under 30 compared with 91(48%) attenders; 14(6%) compared with 41(23%) were over 40(p < 0.001). The proportion of women in social classes 4 and 5 was 33%(20/60) for defaulters and 21%(25/120) for attenders (p < 0.05) and unemployed was 66%(158/238) and 36%(68/188) respectively. 63(28%) defaulters were pregnant compared with 11(6%) attenders (p < 0.001). More defaulters came from gynaecology or antenatal clinics. Most defaulters (93%) had child care responsibilities and they knew and understood less about colposcopy. Their explicit reasons for defaulting included child care commitments and fear and their implicit reasons lack of understanding, inaccessibility of information, and staff attitudes. CONCLUSIONS: Compliance may be improved by promoting women's understanding of treatment and encouraging health professionals to develop a service more sensitive to the various needs of women in different socioeconomic groups. (+info)
Is default from colposcopy a problem, and if so what can we do? A systematic review of the literature.
It has been reported that many women referred to outpatient colposcopy clinics fail to attend for their appointments. The aim of this paper is to search the literature to assess the extent of default from colposcopy and to identify interventions, suitable for implementation within primary care, to reduce the proportion of women defaulting. Searches were performed on MEDLINE, PsychLIT, Bids and Cancerlit from 1986 to September 1997 using the terms colposcopy or cervical/Pap smear in association with default, non-attendance, adherence, patient compliance, treatment refusal, patient dropouts, attendance, barriers or intervention. The inclusion criteria for primary papers were that they contained data that enables the calculation of default rates for colposcopy or the results of interventions aimed at improving the default rates. Thirteen publications describing default rates and four describing interventions were included as primary papers. Combining the data from these studies suggests default rates of 3%, 11%, and 12% for assessment/treatment visits, first review, and second review respectively. The intervention studies suggested a need to tailor the intervention to the population and the type of information to suit the individual. Varying definitions make comparison of default rates difficult, and the use of a crude non-attendance rate may result in an overestimate of default rates. The vast majority of women invited to colposcopy eventually attend. It is questionable if there is a need for interventions to increase compliance. Where necessary, greater cooperation across the primary/secondary care interface and use of the extended primary care team may be a more cost-effective means of increasing compliance. (+info)
HPV testing in the evaluation of the minimally abnormal Papanicolaou smear.
Minor cytologic abnormalities of the cervix, such as atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS), are vastly more common than high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions or invasive cancer. Current guidelines for the management of ASCUS include repeating the Papanicolaou (Pap) smear at specific intervals, referring all patients for colposcopy or using an adjunctive test such as hybrid capture human papillomavirus (HPV) testing or cervicography. The usefulness of the Pap smear is limited by its considerable false-negative rate and its dependence on clinician and laboratory performance. Colposcopy is a highly sensitive procedure, but many patients with ASCUS have normal colposcopic findings. The hybrid capture test not only measures quantitative HPV load but also detects both oncogenic and nononcogenic HPV types, thereby increasing the probability that serious cervical disease is not missed. Hybrid capture sampling is simple to perform, and positive results are strongly associated with cervical dysplasia. HPV testing in women with ASCUS can be used as an adjunctive test to identify those with HPV-associated disease; it can also serve as a quality assurance measure. Together, repeat Pap smears and HPV testing should identify most patients with underlying cervical dysplasia. Combined testing may also minimize the number of unnecessary colposcopic examinations in women who have no disease. (+info)
A matched prospective study of human immunodeficiency virus serostatus, human papillomavirus DNA, and cervical lesions detected by cytology and colposcopy.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the prevalence and type of human papillomavirus (HPV) infections in the genital tract of human-immunodeficiency-virus- (HIV) seropositive and -seronegative women matched for cytology and to examine prospectively the relationship of HPV DNA, colposcopic findings and cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions (SIL) in these matched seropositive and seronegative cohorts. METHODS: A matched prospective study of HIV-seropositive and -seronegative women undergoing cytologic screening, colposcopy, and testing for HPV DNA and other infections at each visit. RESULTS: Twenty-three HIV-seropositive women were matched with 23 seronegative women by cervical cytology reading, lifetime number of sexual partners, age, and follow-up length. Fourteen pairs of these women had follow-up visits every 4 months, for 56 and 53 total visits in seropositive and seronegative women, respectively. After matching, the groups had a similar overall prevalence of HPV DNA and of HPV oncogenic (high risk) types at baseline. On follow up, HIV-seropositive women were more likely than seronegative women to develop SIL (38% vs. 10%), less likely to have negative cytology (34% vs. 60%, overall P = 0.03), more visits with HPV DNA detected (68% vs. 40% P = 0.04), and more visits with multiple HPV DNA types detected (18% vs. 0%, P = 0.02). Colposcopic lesions in the seropositive women were more likely to have sharp borders or mosaicism or to be thick white (P = 0.009). CONCLUSIONS: After matching for baseline Papanicolaou smear readings, these data suggest that over time seropositive women have more visits that yield abnormal cytology, more persistent HPV DNA detection, and more colposcopic abnormalities than seronegative women. (+info)
The effects of three nonoxynol-9 preparations on vaginal flora and epithelium.
To evaluate the effects of nonoxynol-9 (N-9) on the vaginal flora and epithelium, 48 women (16 in each group) were evaluated by use of quantitative vaginal cultures and colposcopy. at baseline and at 0.5, 4, 24, 48, and 72 h after insertion of one of three N-9 preparations (4% gel [Conceptrol], 3.5% gel [Advantage-24], or a 28% vaginal contraceptive film). The proportion positive for H2O2+ or H2O2- lactobacilli did not change significantly with any of the preparations, but lactobacilli concentrations decreased transiently. Both the proportion of women with Gardnerella vaginalis and the concentration of G. vaginalis decreased transiently. The proportion of women with Escherichia coli increased with the 4% gel, and the concentration increased with all preparations. The number with anaerobic gram-negative rods increased, although the concentrations decreased. Symptoms and colposcopic abnormalities were rare. Changes in levels of vaginal bacteria were transient after single applications of N-9, but adverse effects may be enhanced with frequent, chronic use. (+info)
Cervical screening interval: costing the options in one health authority.
BACKGROUND: This is a study of the costs of the cervical screening programme in one health authority with a mixed three and five year, and thus inequitable, cervical screening interval. The costs of three year and five yearly screening are compared, and considered in terms of likely numbers of averted cases of and deaths from cervical cancer. METHODS: The study uses an activity-based costing procedure to calculate the component and total costs of the cervical screening programme. RESULTS: The main costs of the cervical screening programme are the costs of taking and processing smears. In 1994-1995 the total cost of a three year recall policy was 768 570 pound silver per 100000 eligible women and that of a five year recall policy was 476768 pound silver per 100000 eligible women. Best estimates of the numbers of cases of and deaths from invasive cervical cancer averted by three over five yearly screening are 1.4 and 0.7 per 100000 eligible women, respectively. Because of uncertainty regarding colposcopy costs a sensitivity analysis was carried out, giving a range of cost differences between three and five yearly screening of 278477 pound silver and 351 768 pound silver. CONCLUSIONS: The health service costs of three yearly screening are considerably greater than those of five yearly screening. Despite this, a significant proportion of smear-takers are screening more frequently than five yearly, with implications for anxiety of screened women, as well as health service costs. (+info)
Variations in vaginal epithelial surface appearance determined by colposcopic inspection in healthy, sexually active women.
A total of 107 sexually active women, aged 18-35 years, was recruited through family planning clinics in four centres in different countries. Each woman underwent two or three gentle but thorough and systematic vaginal inspections using a consistent technique with colposcopic magnification over a 4-6 month period to look for changes in vaginal and cervical appearance which might be related to sexual intercourse, tampon use, contraceptive method used, cigarette smoking or other environmental factors. Obvious changes in appearance were photographed at x10 magnification. These 'appearances' or 'conditions' were classified according to a modification of the recommendations of a workshop sponsored by the World Health Organization, the Population Council and the Conrad Program. Most of these alterations in the appearance of the vaginal epithelium were judged to be of such minor clinical importance that they have been termed 'conditions' or 'changes in appearance' rather than 'lesions'. In all, 56 'conditions' or 'appearances' were noted in 314 inspections, the commonest being petechiae (53.6%). Potentially significant conditions justifying the term 'lesions' (three microulcerations, two ecchymoses, five abrasions and one mucosal tear; 3.5% of inspections) usually healed spontaneously and disappeared rapidly. The incidence of these conditions was highest when the inspections followed intercourse in the previous 24 h (25.2 versus 14.2%; P < 0.0008), or tampon use (32.4 versus 15.9%; P < 0. 0001). These processes may be regarded as a reflection of regular minor trauma to the vaginal epithelium. (+info)