HPV sampling options for cervical cancer screening: preferences of urban-dwelling Canadians in a changing paradigm
Fifty percent of women in Canada diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer have not been screened according to guidelines. Interventions involving HPV self-collected sampling could be a promising avenue to increase screening uptake. In order to guide the development of cervical cancer screening interventions, we assessed: 1) women’s preference for cervical cancer screening sample collection options, 2) sampling preferences according to previous screening behaviors, and 3) women’s preference for self-sampling according to their reasons for not being screened according to guidelines. Data were collected via an online survey (Montreal, QC 2016) and included information from female participants between the ages of 21 and 65 who had not had a hysterectomy and who had provided answers to survey questions on screening history, screening interval, and screening preferences (N=526). We observed that 68% of all women surveyed preferred screening via a self-sampled test. Among women born outside of Canada, the United States, or Europe, preference ranged from 47% to 60%. Nearly all women (95% - 100%), who reported fear or embarrassment, not liking undergoing a pap test, and both time- and geographic-related availability of screening as one of their reasons for not being screened stated a preference for undergoing screening via a self-sampled test. Policy-makers and researchers should consider if self-sample ought to be offered primarily to never or infrequently screened women, or be rolled out to all eligible women, and how best to integrate self-sampled screening into both organized and opportunistic screening contexts.