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Communicating Colposcopy Results: What Do Patients and Providers Discuss?

Pruitt, Sandi L. MPH1; Parker, Patricia A. PhD2; Follen, Michele MD, PhD3,4; Basen-Engquist, Karen PhD, MPH2

Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease: April 2008 - Volume 12 - Issue 2 - p 95-102
doi: 10.1097/LGT.0b013e31815a5142
Original Articles
Spanish Translation

Objective. We describe the content of providers' postcolposcopy consultations and women's perceptions of consultations and their conditions.

Materials and Methods. Consultations (n = 47) were audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed. Women were interviewed immediately after consultations.

Results. Providers often named or described the diagnosis (n = 46), suggested a return appointment date (n = 41), and asked if women understood the diagnosis or had any questions (n = 40). Risk factors and causes of cervical cancer, including human papillomavirus infection, smoking, and sexual activity, were rarely discussed (n = 5). The majority (n = 40) of women were asked if they understood the provider's explanation or had any questions. Women rated quality of their provider's explanation as high and the severity of and worry about their condition as moderate.

Conclusions. Postcolposcopy consultations focused on follow-up screening and treatment. Risk factors and causes of cervical cancer were discussed infrequently.

Post-colposcopy discussion focused on follow-up screening and treatment but not risk factors and cervical cancer causes.

1Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research at The University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston, Houston, TX, 2Department of Behavioral Science and 3Biomedical Engineering Center, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, and 4Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Houston, TX

Reprint requests to: Karen Basen-Engquist, PhD, MPH, Department of Behavioral Science, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Unit 1330, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030. E-mail:

This research was supported by National Cancer Institute grant P01-CA-82710. The preparation of this article was funded in part by National Cancer Institute training grants R25-CA-57730 and R25-CA-57712 awarded to S.L.P.

©2008The American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology