Cervical Cancer Screening for Women With Disabilities: Time for a New Approach? : Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease

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Special Edition: Underserved Populations

Cervical Cancer Screening for Women With Disabilities: Time for a New Approach?

Nguyen, Anh Q. BA; Mandigo, Morgan MD, MSc; Coleman, Jenell S. MD, MPH

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Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease 22(4):p 318-319, October 2018. | DOI: 10.1097/LGT.0000000000000432


Women with disabilities are underscreened for cervical cancer compared with the general population, likely because, in part, of both emotional and physical challenges associated with Pap testing. Women with certain disabilities often require an examination under anesthesia to undergo a speculum examination. However, anesthesia is not without risks and the perioperative experience can be burdensome to patients and caregivers. Either self-collected or provider-collected samples for human papillomavirus (HPV) testing might be better tolerated by patients, and recent evidence suggests that it is a suitable primary screening strategy. The Society of Gynecologic Oncology and the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology published an Interim Guidance Report outlining using primary HPV testing as an option for women 25 years and older. More recently, the US Preventive Services Task Force released a recommendation statement that included the option to use oncogenic HPV testing alone for women aged 30 to 65 years. We encourage clinical researchers and professional organizations to evaluate primary HPV screening among women with disabilities to advise providers about how to best perform cervical cancer screening without the need for a speculum examination. We cannot ignore the screening disparity experienced by this population, and advocating for screening approaches that reduce patient and caregiver burden would be a step in the right direction.

© 2018, ASCCP

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