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Health Educ Res. 2013 Oct;28(5):793-802. doi: 10.1093/her/cys103. Epub 2012 Oct 30.

Development of a pre-notification leaflet to encourage uptake of cervical screening at first invitation: a qualitative study.

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Academic Unit of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, School of Cancer and Enabling Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9WL, UK and Robert Darbishire General Practice, Rusholme, Manchester M14 5NP, UK.


Cervical screening attendance among women aged 25-29 years in England is lower than at older ages. There is some evidence that pre-notification leaflets motivate women who have not yet considered their response to a health intervention. We aimed to identify key information to motivate young women at their first cervical screening invitation. Six focus groups were conducted, five with young women aged 17-25 registered with a General Practice in Manchester, UK, and one with Practice nurses. Some women took part in two further groups to discuss leaflet design. There was low awareness of the purpose or procedures of cervical screening, and most women were de-motivated by reports of bad experiences. Some intended to be screened, but not immediately after invitation. Screening was viewed as a test for a cancer that affected older women. Since none of the participants believed that they had cervical cancer, screening seemed unnecessary. We conclude that the perception that screening is unimportant when you are young needs to be challenged. Women also need to be better informed of screening procedures. A pre-notification leaflet incorporating key information was designed and will be tested in a randomized trial of complex interventions within the routine cervical screening programme.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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