The potential for vaginal self sampling to increase participation in cervical screening.
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Aim: To explore potential methods of increasing cervical screening coverage. Methods: Cervical screening defaulters in Dumfries and Galloway were identified in 2012, split into a control (N=64) and 7 intervention groups who were offered multiple screening options including self-collecting a vaginal sample at home. Self-samples were tested for high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV). A total of 3323 were invited to request a kit and 492 were sent a kit directly. Women who declined screening were asked to complete a questionnaire. Colposcopy referrals from defaulters were audited to identify changes over time. Defaulters attending the hospital smear clinic were questioned to ascertain barriers to cervical screening. Results: Among seven intervention groups the proportion responding varied between 32% (25%-38%) and 14% (11%-17%) compared to 6% among controls. One hundred and thirty women were HPV positive on self-sample, 8 of whom had CIN2+ diagnosed. A significantly higher number of defaulters were referred to colposcopy in June-December 2012 (n=51) than in the same period in 2011 (n=17; OR=3.8, 2.1-6.9). Defaulting was more commonly attributed to practical (112/155=72%) than attitudinal barriers (23/115=15%) (RR=4.9, 3.3-8.0). Conclusions: Practical barriers are often the cause of women not attending for cervical screening and offering more options, particularly the option of self- sampling at home, increases screening coverage.
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