Assessing the impact of mailing self-sampling kits for human papillomavirus testing to unscreened non-responder women in Manitoba

F. Jalili, C. O'Conaill, K. Templeton, R. Lotocki, G. Fischer, L. Manning, K. Cormier, K. Decker


Background CervixCheck, Manitoba’s cervical cancer screening program, conducted a pilot study to assess whether screening participation could be improved in unscreened women by offering a mailed self-sampling kit for human papillomavirus (hpv) testing instead of a Pap test.

Methods In a prospective cohort study design, a sample of unscreened women (n = 1052) who had been sent an invitation letter from CervixCheck in the past but who did not respond were randomized to either an intervention group or a control group. The intervention group received a mailed hpv self-sampling kit; the control group received no additional communication. Returned hpv self-sampling swabs were analyzed by a provincial laboratory. After 6 months, screening participation in the two study groups was compared using a logistic regression model adjusted for age and area of residence (urban or rural). Secondary outcomes included hpv positivity, specimen inadequacy, compliance with follow-up, and time to colposcopy.

Results Screening participation was significantly higher in the intervention group than in the control group (n = 51, 9.6%, vs. n = 13, 2.5%; odds ratio: 4.7; 95% confidence interval: 2.56 to 8.77). Geographic area of residence (urban or rural) and age were not statistically significant.

Conclusions The study demonstrated that hpv self-sampling kits can enhance screening participation in unscreened non-responder women in the setting of an organized screening program. Next steps should include additional research to determine the best implementation strategy for hpv self-sampling in Manitoba.


Human papillomavirus DNA tests; Cervical Cancer; Cancer Screening

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