By Janet Fricker, ecancer news
Direct mailing of self sampler human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA tests to non responders who had failed to take up invitations for cervical cancer screening programmes increased compliance in comparison with standard recall letters, reports an Italian study published in the British Journal of Cancer.
In most industrialised countries, the majority of invasive cervical cancers occur in women who have never been screened or who are under screened. As a result the greatest impact on cervical cancer prevention would be achieved by increased test coverage. The use of HPV DNA tests as a primary screen allows for the introduction of self-sampling, whereas the conventional Pap-test requires samples to be taken by health professionals. The availability of home, self-collected samples opens the opportunity to remove some of the barriers that may have discouraged women from participating in screening programmes. “Self-sampling is less time consuming and invasive as compared with tests performed at a clinic. It allows for privacy, reduces discomfort and women know nobody would have to handle their body,” write the authors of the study, P Giorgi Rossi and colleagues from the Agency for Public Health (Rome, Italy).