ABSTRACT: While there is a large body of evidence on the effectiveness of Pap smears for cervical cancer screening and on screening for cervical gonorrhea and Chlamydia, there is sparse evidence to support other portions of the pelvic examination and little guidance on examination logistics. Maximizing comfort should be the goal; lubrication use and careful speculum selection and insertion can ease this intrusive procedure. This is particularly important in adolescent and menopausal women, sexual minorities, obese women, women with disabilities, and women with a history of trauma or prior instrumentation affecting the genitalia. We review the evidence and provide guidance to minimize physical and psychological discomfort with pelvic examination.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:One reason that women over age 50 report avoiding cervical screening is increased discomfort postmenopause. This study aimed to explore the acceptability of human papillomavirus testing on clinician-collected vaginal samples without a speculum ('non-speculum') for cervical screening among older women. METHODS:Thirty-eight women in England aged 50-64 with a range of cervical screening experience ('up-to-date' n?=?17, 'overdue screening' n?=?18, 'never screened' n?=?3) were identified via a recruitment agency. Women participated in focus groups or interviews about the potential for using clinician-collected samples without a speculum. Discussions were analysed using Framework Analysis. RESULTS:The two main themes identified were women's perceptions of the speculum and attitudes towards non-speculum screening. Many women reported negative experiences with the speculum, including increased pain after the menopause. Women generally had positive attitudes towards non-speculum clinician sampling and felt it would be a less intrusive option, but expressed concern that it could be less accurate than screening with a speculum. Women who were 'up-to-date' preferred conventional screening, while overdue and never screened women welcomed the option to be screened without a speculum. CONCLUSIONS:Human papillomavirus testing on non-speculum clinician-collected vaginal samples could be an acceptable alternative cervical screening method for older women. Offering this approach could increase screening uptake in older women who find conventional cervical screening to be less acceptable with ageing or the menopause.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer that affects women worldwide. It has been and remains the leading cause of cancer mortality among women in Ghana. Despite the fact that cervical cancer is preventable through early detection and treatment of precancerous lesions, anecdotal evidence from gynaecological clinics in Ghana indicates that most patients present with a late stage of the disease. This study assesses the cervical cancer screening practices among women in Ghana. METHODS:Data from the World Health Organization's (WHO) multi-country Study on AGEing and adult health (SAGE) wave 2 conducted between 2014 and 2015 in Ghana was used. We employed binary logistic regression models to analyse data on 2711 women to examine factors associated with having pelvic examination among women aged ?18?years. Among those who had pelvic examination, we applied binary logistic regression models to analyse factors associated with receiving Pap smear test as a subgroup analysis. RESULTS:Of the 2711 women aged 18?years or older surveyed, 225 (8.3%) had ever had a pelvic examination and only 66 (2.4%) of them reported ever having done a Pap smear test. For those who had pelvic examination, only 26.94% had Pap smear test. Ethnic group, marital status, father's educational level and difficulty with self-care were independently associated with undergoing pelvic examination. Only age and healthcare involvement were independently associated with pelvic examination within the past 5?years to the survey. Marital status, satisfaction with healthcare and healthcare involvement were independently associated with Pap smear test. CONCLUSION:Even though cervical cancer is preventable through early detection of precancerous lesions using Pap smear test, the patronage of this screening test is still very low in Ghana. Factors influencing the low patronage in Ghana include the marital status of women, their level of satisfaction with healthcare as well as their level of involvement with healthcare. These may be the consequences of a weak health system and the lack of a national policy on cervical cancer screening.
Project description:Fear of the speculum and feelings of vulnerability during the gynecologic exams are two of the biggest barriers to cervical cancer screening for women. To address these barriers, we have developed a novel, low-cost tool called the Callascope to reimagine the gynecological exam, enabling clinician and self-imaging of the cervix without the need for a speculum. The Callascope contains a 2 megapixel camera and contrast agent spray mechanism housed within a form factor designed to eliminate the need for a speculum during contrast agent administration and image capture. Preliminary bench testing for comparison of the Callascope camera to a $20,000 high-end colposcope demonstrated that the Callascope camera meets visual requirements for cervical imaging. Bench testing of the spray mechanism demonstrates that the contrast agent delivery enables satisfactory administration and cervix coverage. Clinical studies performed at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, USA and in Greater Accra Regional Hospital, Accra, Ghana assessed (1) the Callascope's ability to visualize the cervix compared to the standard-of-care speculum exam, (2) the feasibility and willingness of women to use the Callascope for self-exams, and (3) the feasibility and willingness of clinicians and their patients to use the Callascope for clinician-based examinations. Cervix visualization was comparable between the Callascope and speculum (83% or 44/53 women vs. 100%) when performed by a clinician. Visualization was achieved in 95% (21/22) of women who used the Callascope for self-imaging. Post-exam surveys indicated that participants preferred the Callascope to a speculum-based exam. Our results indicate the Callascope is a viable option for clinician-based and self-exam speculum-free cervical imaging.Clinical study registration ClinicalTrials.gov https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/record/ NCT00900575, Pan African Clinical Trial Registry (PACTR) https://www.pactr.org/ PACTR201905806116817.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Cervical cancer screening usually requires use of a speculum to provide a clear view of the cervix. The speculum is one potential barrier to screening due to fear of pain, discomfort and embarrassment. The aim of this paper is to present and demonstrate the feasibility of a tampon-sized inserter and the POCkeT Colposcope, a miniature pen sized-colposcope, for comfortable, speculum-free and potentially self-colposcopy. STUDY DESIGN:We explored different designs using 3D computer-aided design (CAD) software and performed mechanical testing simulations on each. Designs were rapid prototyped and tested using a custom vaginal phantom across a range of vaginal pressures and uterine tilts to select an optimal design. Two final designs were tested with fifteen volunteers to assess cervix visualization, comfort and usability compared to the speculum and the optimal design, the curved-tip inserter, was selected for testing in volunteers. RESULTS:We present a vaginal inserter as an alternative to the standard speculum for use with the POCkeT Colposcope. The device has a slim tubular body with a funnel-like curved tip measuring approximately 2.5 cm in diameter. The inserter has a channel through which a 2 megapixel (MP) mini camera with LED illumination fits to enable image capture. Mechanical finite element testing simulations with an applied pressure of 15 cm H2O indicated a high factor of safety (90.9) for the inserter. Testing of the device with a custom vaginal phantom, across a range of supine vaginal pressures and uterine tilts (retroverted, anteverted and sideverted), demonstrated image capture with a visual area comparable to the speculum for a normal/axial positioned uteri and significantly better than the speculum for anteverted and sideverted uteri (p<0.00001). Volunteer studies with self-insertion and physician-assisted cervix image capture showed adequate cervix visualization for 83% of patients. In addition, questionnaire responses from volunteers indicated a 92.3% overall preference for the inserter over the speculum and all indicated that the inserter was more comfortable than the speculum. The inserter provides a platform for self-cervical cancer screening and also enables acetic acid/Lugol's iodine application and insertion of swabs for Pap smear sample collection. CONCLUSION:This study demonstrates the feasibility of an inserter and miniature-imaging device for comfortable cervical image capture of women with potential for synergistic HPV and Pap smear sample collection.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Women undergoing pelvic examination for cervical cancer screening can experience periprocedural anxiety. OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study was to assess the anxiety level experienced by women undergoing a visual inspection with acetic acid and Lugol iodine (VIA and VILI) examination, with or without watching the procedure on a digital screen. METHODS:This prospective randomized study took place in the district of Dschang, Cameroon. A previous cervical cancer screening campaign tested women aged between 30 and 49 years for human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV-positive women were invited for the 12-month follow-up control visit, including a VIA/VILI examination. During that visit, we recruited women to participate in this study. Before the examination, participants were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to a control group (CG) and an intervention group (IG). Women in both groups underwent a pelvic examination and were verbally informed about the steps undertaken during the gynecological examination. The IG could also watch it live on a tablet screen. Women's anxiety was assessed before and immediately after the examination, using the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). A paired t test was used to compare the mean STAI score for each question before and after VIA/VILI while a nonpaired, 2-sided t test was used to compare the mean differences of the STAI score between the 2 study groups. RESULTS:A total of 122 women were randomized in the study; 4 of them were excluded as they did not undergo the pelvic examination, did not answer to the second STAI questionnaire because of personal reasons, or the cervix could not be properly visualized. Thus, the final sample size consisted of 118 patients of whom 58 women were assigned to the CG and 60 to the IG. The mean age was 39.1 (SD 5.2) years. Before the examination, the mean (SD) STAI score was 33.6 (SD 10.9) in the CG and 36.4 (SD 11.8) in the IG (P=.17). The STAI score after pelvic examination was significantly reduced for both groups (CG: 29.3 [SD 11.2]; IG: 28.5 [SD 12.0]). Overall, the difference of the STAI scores before and after the pelvic examination was lower in the CG (4.2 [SD 9.0]) than in the IG (7.9 [SD 14.3]), although the difference was not significant (P=.10). However, the women's emotional state, such as I feel secure and I feel strained, was improved in the IG as compared with the CG (CG: P=.01; IG: P=.007). CONCLUSIONS:Watching the VIA/VILI procedure in real time improved the women's emotional state but did not reduce the periprocedural anxiety measured by the STAI score. Furthermore, larger studies should assess women's satisfaction with watching their pelvic examination in real time to determine whether this tool could be included in VIA/VILI routine practice. TRIAL REGISTRATION:ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02945111; http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02945111.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>As access to antiretroviral therapy in sub-Saharan Africa continues to expand, more women with HIV can expect to survive through their reproductive years. Modern contraceptives can help women choose the timing and spacing of childbearing. However, concerns remain that women with HIV who use non-barrier forms of modern contraception may engage in more condomless sex because of their decreased risk of unintended pregnancy. We examined whether non-barrier modern contraceptive use by HIV-positive female sex workers was associated with increased frequency of recent condomless sex, measured by detection of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in vaginal secretions.<h4>Methods</h4>Women who were HIV-positive and reported transactional sex were included in this analysis. Pregnant and post-menopausal follow-up time was excluded, as were visits at which women reported trying to get pregnant. At enrollment and quarterly follow-up visits, a pelvic speculum examination with collection of vaginal secretions was conducted for detection of PSA. In addition, women completed a structured face-to-face interview about their current contraceptive methods and sexual risk behavior at enrollment and monthly follow-up visits. Log-binomial generalized estimating equations regression was used to test for associations between non-barrier modern contraceptive use and detection of PSA in vaginal secretions and self-reported condomless sex. Data from October 2012 through September 2014 were included in this analysis.<h4>Results</h4>Overall, 314 women contributed 1,583 quarterly examination visits. There was minimal difference in PSA detection at contraceptive-exposed versus contraceptive-unexposed visits (adjusted relative risk [aRR] 1.28, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.93-1.76). There was a higher rate of self-reported condomless sex at visits where women reported using modern contraceptives, but this difference was not statistically significant after adjustment for potential confounding factors (aRR 1.59, 95% CI 0.98-2.58).<h4>Conclusion</h4>Non-barrier methods of modern contraception were not associated with increased risk of objective evidence of condomless sex.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Despite cervical cancer being preventable with effective screening programs, it is the most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer-related death among women in many countries in Africa. Screening involving pelvic examination may not be feasible or acceptable in limited-resource settings. We sought to evaluate women's perspectives on human papillomavirus (HPV) self-sampling as part of a larger trial on cervical cancer prevention implementation strategies in rural western Kenya. METHODS:We invited 120 women participating in a cluster randomized trial of cervical cancer screening implementation strategies in Migori County, Kenya for in-depth interviews. We explored reasons for testing, experience with and ability to complete HPV self-sampling, importance of clinician involvement during screening, factors and people contributing to screening decision-making, and ways to encourage other women to come for screening. We used validated theoretical frameworks to analyze the qualitative data. RESULTS:Women reported having positive experiences with the HPV self-sampling strategy. The factors facilitating uptake included knowledge and beliefs such as prior awareness of HPV, personal perception of cervical cancer risk, desire for improved health outcomes, and peer and partner encouragement. Logistical and screening facilitators included confidence in the ability to complete HPV self-sampling strategy, proximity to screening sites and feelings of privacy and comfort conducting the HPV self- sampling. The barriers to screening included fear of need for a pelvic exam, fear of disease and death associated with cervical cancer. We classified these findings as capabilities, opportunities and motivations for health behavior using the COM-B framework. CONCLUSIONS:Overall, HPV self-sampling was an acceptable cervical cancer screening strategy that seemed to meet the needs of the women in this community. These findings will further inform aspects of implementation, including outreach messaging, health education, screening sites and emphasis on availability and effectiveness of preventative treatment for women who screen positive.
Project description:In the UK, more than 3,200 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year. Early stage cervical cancer (IA2-IB1) treatment comprises central surgery mainly in the form of radical hysterectomy or fertility sparing surgery including trachelectomy as well as systematic pelvic lymphadenectomy to detect metastases and adjust treatment accordingly. Given the variation in determining the lymph node (LN) status, a major prognosticator, we reviewed the current UK practice of LN assessment in women undergoing surgery for early cervical cancer. A 7-question, web-based survey, screened by the BGCS committee, was circulated amongst BGCS members. The overall response rate was 51%. Only 12.5% of the respondents routinely performed frozen section examination (FSE); the main reasons for not doing FSE were the pressure on theatre time (54.5%) and the lack of available facilities (48.5%). When positive pelvic nodal disease was detected, in 21 out of 50 (42%) the planned radical hysterectomy (RH) was aborted. More than 70% of the respondents routinely performed RH without any prior resort to pelvic lymphadenectomy. Pretreatment surgical para-aortic LN assessment was performed by 20% of the respondents. The survey confirms the diversity of the UK practice patterns in the surgical treatment of early cervical cancer.
Project description:OBJECTIVES: To train laywomen to become professional patients in order to teach medical students speculum and bimanual examination, to assess their effectiveness in this role, and to incorporate this method of teaching into the undergraduate curriculum of a medical school in the United Kingdom. DESIGN: Comparative study. SETTING: Guy's, King's, and St Thomas's School of Medicine, London. PARTICIPANTS: 44 medical students trained by gynaecology teaching associates; 48 control students. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Skills in pelvic examination. RESULTS: Six laywomen were recruited and all successfully graduated to become gynaecology teaching associates. At assessment 1, in the third week of the reproductive and sexual health block, the mean score achieved by students trained by gynaecology teaching associates was 155, compared with 104 for control group students (difference in mean scores 51 (95% confidence interval 41 to 61), P < 0.001). Similar results were obtained at assessment 2, at the end of the attachment-the mean score for trained students was 148, compared with a mean score of 114 for control group students (difference in mean scores 34 (21 to 46), P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Laywomen can be trained to teach pelvic examination to medical students in the United Kingdom. Students who receive this training have better skills than students who receive the traditional training alone.
Project description:Extremely obese women are less likely than nonobese women to receive breast and cervical cancer screening examinations. Reasons for this disparity are unclear and may stem from patient and/or physician barriers. This sequential mixed-methods study used individual in-depth interviews of 15 family physicians followed by a mail survey of 255 family physicians (53% response rate) to understand the barriers they faced in performing cancer screening examinations in extremely obese women. Barriers fell into three main areas: (i) difficulty doing pelvic and breast exams; (ii) inadequate equipment; and (iii) challenges overcoming patient barriers and refusal. This led some physicians to avoid performing breast and pelvic examinations on extremely obese women. Having more knowledge about specific examination techniques was associated with less difficulty in palpating lumps on breast and pelvic examinations (P < 0.005). Physicians perceived that embarrassment, aversion to undressing, and avoidance of discussions related to their weight were the most frequent barriers extremely obese women had with getting physical examinations. Educating and/or motivating patients and addressing fears were strategies used most frequently when patients refused mammograms or Pap smears. Interventions focusing on physician barriers, such as educating them on specific examination techniques, obtaining adequate equipment and supplies, and providing resources to assist physicians in dealing with patient barriers and refusal, may be fruitful in increasing cancer screening rates in extremely obese patients. Future research studies testing the effectiveness of these strategies are needed to improve cancer outcomes in this high-risk population.