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Self-collection for under-screened women in a National Cervical Screening Program: pilot study

M. Saville, D. Hawkes, E. Mclachlan, S. Anderson, K. Arabena



Commencing 1 December 2017, Australia introduced human papillomavirus (hpv)-based cervical screening. As part of this Australian renewed National Cervical Screening Program (ncsp) women who are either never- or under-screened and who refuse a practitioner collected sample will be able to collect their own sample for cervical screening. The aim of this study is to examine the quantitative results of a pilot study into the acceptability of the self-collection alternative pathway.


Eligible participants were offered the opportunity to collect their own sample. Those who agreed were given a flocked swab and an instruction sheet and took their own sample in an area of the health care clinic that afforded them adequate privacy. These samples were then given to clinic staff who returned them to Victorian Cytology Service (vcs) Pathology for hpv nucleic acid testing.


Of 98 eligible women, seventy-nine undertook self-collection for hpv-based cervical screening. Seventy seven produced valid results, 14 were positive for oncogenic hpv, with 10 undertaking follow-up. Three women were found to have cervical squamous abnormalities with two of those being high-grade intraepithelial squamous lesions.


The pilot study for self-collection for cervical screening produced quantitative data that were similar to that already reported in the literature, but had a much higher rate of acceptance compared with self-collection programs based in the home.


Human papillomavirus (hpv); self-collection; cervical cancer screening; diagnostic testing

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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)