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Acta Oncol. 2011 Jan;50(1):112-20. doi: 10.3109/0284186X.2010.528790. Epub 2010 Nov 22.

How can young women be encouraged to attend cervical cancer screening? Suggestions from face-to-face and internet focus group discussions with 30-year-old women in Stockholm, Sweden.

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Department NVS, Division of Nursing, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.



cervical cancer screening (CCS) using Pap-smears has been carried out for decades and is still an essential tool for secondary cancer prevention. Focus has traditionally been on what hinders women's attendance, instead of researching this issue from a positive standpoint, i.e. what factors encourage women to take a Pap-smear? In this article, we therefore explore issues that 30-year-old women have addressed as encouraging CCS attendance, with particular focus on aspects susceptible to intervention.


through the population-based cervical cancer screening (PCCSP) registry in Stockholm, Sweden, a stratified random sampling technique was used to recruit women from the same birth cohort with varied CCS histories and results. Nine face-to-face focus groups discussions (FGDs) and 30 internet-based FGDs were conducted with a total of 138 women aged 30. Qualitative analysis was inspired by interpretative description, to generate clinically relevant and useful data.


in general, these women expressed positive views about the PCCSP as an existing service, regardless of screening history. They described a wide range of factors encompassing the entire screening trajectory from invitation through follow-up which could motivate young women to CCS participation, including social marketing. Many of the suggestions related to individualization of the PCCSP, as well as a need to understand the relationship between human papilloma virus (HPV) and cervical cancer.


[corrected these results are discussed in terms of the inherent tension between population-based public health initiatives and individually-oriented health care provision. Many suggestions given are already incorporated into the existing Stockholm-Gotland screening program, although this information may not reach women who need it. New research should test whether systematic information on HPV may provide a missing link in motivating young women to attend CCS, and which of their suggestions can serve to increase CCS participation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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