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Cervical cancer ranks as the fourth most common cancer in women internationally and the fourteenth most common women’s cancer in the United States. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the leading causative factor for cervical cancer. In America, over 79 million men and women have HPV, with over 14 million new infections occurring yearly. Although nearly every person who is sexually active will test HPV- positive at one point in their life, most HPV infections are easily eradicated by the immune system. In some cases, however, HPV infections persist and cell changes take place that eventually lead to cancer. Papanicolaou (pap) testing has long been a screening method used to ensure early detection of abnormal cervical cells and spur action to prevent cancer development. Recent changes in national screening recommendations promote cytology alone before age 30, followed by HPV testing or cotesting with HPV and cytology after the age of 30. HPV testing has been proven superior to traditional cytology when comparing cost, resources, time, and skill required to interpret cytology slides.With the rise in popularity of HPV testing for cervical cancer screening, self- collected HPV sampling has been explored as an additional option for increasing the number of women screened for cervical cancer.Women have proven competent in self- collected sampling and expressed satisfaction with this method of testing. Conversely, self-collected sampling prompts concerns for patient follow-up needs, provider responsibilities related to results, incomplete well-woman’s exams, and effects on results of sampling vaginal tissue compared to cervical tissue.When compared to provider-gathered Pap testing alone, self-collected HPV testing offers the ability to reach women who lack access to care or do not seek screening due to time, embarrassment, or knowledge deficits.When considering the feasibility of self-collected HPV sampling, the opportunity to improve cervical cancer screening compliance among hard-to-reach populations is promising. However, bypassing the gold standard of cotesting with cytology and HPV, accounting for patient results, and managing patient follow-up care represent the potential drawbacks to promoting self-collected sampling. As HPV self-collected sampling research grows, further implications of this method on decreasing cervical cancer prevalence will be discovered.
Tom, Lauren, "Exploring the Feasibility of HPV Self-Collected Sampling" (2018). 2018 IPFW Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium. 30.