A new meta-analysis investigated whether using a human papillomavirus (HPV) self-sampling kit increases the likelihood of seeking cervical cancer screening. The analysis showed that women who had the option of collecting their own sample for HPV testing were twice as likely to seek cervical cancer screening as those who relied on standard-of-care screening practices. Researchers, however, found no difference in follow-up treatment rates after initial screening.
The study, published in BMJ Global Health, was led by researchers in the department of international health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, with colleagues at the World Health Organization and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Cervical cancer, which results from high-risk HPV infection, is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in low- and middle-income countries. While the HPV vaccine exists, it remains out of reach for many women in these countries. Early detection and treatment of precancerous lesions can play a valuable role in reducing the burden of this disease for disadvantaged women.
The meta-analysis found that women were twice as likely to seek cervical cancer screening if they were offered self-sampling kits compared to those who relied on standard practices. Women who received kits from door-to-door health care providers were three times as likely. Women who received kits through direct mailing were twice as likely, and participants in studies that required women to request kits were more likely, but not statistically significantly, to seek screening than those in the control arm.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on August 23