A New Approach to Cervical-Cancer Prevention

An estimated 12,900 women in the United States are expected to develop cervical cancer in 2015, according to the American Cancer Society, and 4,100 women are expected to die from the disease. Cervical cancer is highly preventable, however, and regular cervical-cancer screening can help lower the number of women who develop the disease.

Current screening guidelines recommend that women ages 30-65 receive a combination of Pap testing and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing every five years, or, if HPV testing is not used, Pap testing every three years. But for women of low socioeconomic status or those living in rural areas and far from clinics, regular testing is often difficult.

A team of OSUCCC – James researchers is working to help these women receive regular screening. With support from a Pelotonia idea grant, they are developing an HPV self-testing program that enables women to conveniently collect cervical samples at home and mail them in for testing. The program focuses on women who live in Ohio Appalachia and who have received little or no prior cervical cancer screening. Cervical cancer incidence in Ohio Appalachia is among the highest in the state.

The interdisciplinary team is collaborating with the Valley View Health Centers of Ohio Appalachia for this study. The findings will provide much needed information on the acceptability and feasibility of HPV self-testing as a potential cervical-cancer screening strategy.