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To what extent will women accept HPV self-sampling for cervical cancer screening? A qualitative study conducted in Switzerland

Authors Fargnoli V, Petignat P, Burton-Jeangros C

Received 19 June 2015

Accepted for publication 3 September 2015

Published 4 November 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 883—888


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer

Vanessa Fargnoli,1 Patrick Petignat,2 Claudine Burton-Jeangros1

1Department of Sociology, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland; 2Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland

Objectives: Human papillomavirus self-sampling (self-HPV) is regarded as an alternative to Pap smear testing for women who do not participate in cervical cancer screening. This qualitative study aimed to determine women’s views on cervical cancer screening and the various obstacles to participation in screening, and to evaluate the perceived benefits and disadvantages of self-HPV.
Method: Twenty-four focus groups were conducted in 2012, with a total of 125 participants aged between 24 and 67 years. They were recruited through different channels, including flyers and posters, personal contacts, and an ongoing clinical trial focused on the unscreened population. Interview transcripts have been coded with the ATLAS.ti CAQDAS.
Results: Fifty-seven participants regularly attended screening and 68 had not been screened in the past 3 years. While some participants considered self-HPV as an acceptable screening method, others expressed concerns. Benefits included access, reduced costs, and time-saving. Disadvantages included the fear of not performing the test correctly, hurting oneself, and the accuracy of the test. Participants expressed concern that self-HPV would replace gynecological visits.
Conclusion: Self-HPV is not likely to rapidly or substantially modify women’s behaviors in regard to screening. While it may offer benefits in some specific situations, most women emphasized the advantages of regular gynecologist visits.

Keywords: self-HPV, cervical cancer, cervical screening, qualitative study, Pap smear

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