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Exploring the acceptability of human papillomavirus self-sampling among Muslim immigrant women

Authors Lofters AK, Vahabi M, Fardad M, Raza A

Received 19 April 2017

Accepted for publication 3 June 2017

Published 19 July 2017 Volume 2017:9 Pages 323—329


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Antonella D'Anneo

Aisha K Lofters,1–4 Mandana Vahabi,5,6 Mitra Fardad,7 Afrah Raza8

1Centre for Urban Health Solutions, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital, 2Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, 3Department of Family and Community Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital, 4Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, 5Faculty of Community Services, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, 6Graduate Program in Immigration and Settlement Studies, Ryerson University, 7Faculty of Community Service, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, Canada; 8University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Background: With appropriate screening (ie, the Papanicolaou [Pap] test), cervical cancer is highly preventable, and high-income countries, including Canada, have observed significant decreases in cervical cancer mortality. However, certain subgroups, including immigrants from countries with large Muslim populations, experience disparities in cervical cancer screening. Little is known about the acceptability of human papillomavirus (HPV) self-sampling as a screening strategy among Muslim immigrant women in Canada. This study assessed cervical cancer screening practices, knowledge and attitudes, and acceptability of HPV self-sampling among Muslim immigrant women.
Methods: A convenience sample of 30 women was recruited over a 3-month period (June–August 2015) in the Greater Toronto Area. All women were between 21 and 69 years old, foreign-born, and self-identified as Muslim, and had good knowledge of English. Data were collected through a self-completed questionnaire.
Results: More than half of the participants falsely indicated that Pap tests may cause cervical infection, and 46.7% indicated that the test is an intrusion on privacy. The majority of women reported that they would be willing to try HPV self-sampling, and more than half would prefer this method to provider-administered sampling methods. Barriers to self-sampling included confidence in the ability to perform the test and perceived cost, and facilitators included convenience and privacy being preserved.
Conclusion: The results demonstrate that HPV self-sampling may provide a favorable alternative model of care to the traditional provider-administered Pap testing. These findings add important information to the literature related to promoting cancer screening among women who are under or never screened for cervical cancer.

Keywords: cancer screening, HPV, self-sampling, immigrant health

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