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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2016 May;25(5):422-7. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2015.5706. Epub 2016 Apr 20.

Change in Provider Beliefs Regarding Cervical Cancer Screening Intervals After an Educational Intervention.

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1 Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , Atlanta, Georgia .
2 Division of Health and Analytics, Battelle , Seattle, Washington.



Current cervical cancer screening guidelines include the option of lengthening the screening interval to 5 years for average-risk women aged 30-65 years when screened with Pap and human papillomavirus (HPV) test (co-test). Because many providers are reluctant to extend screening intervals, we launched an educational intervention to promote recommended screening practices. The study objective was to assess changes in provider attitudes and beliefs to extending screening intervals among low-income women.


The study was conducted in 15 clinics in Federally Qualified Health Centers in Illinois. Providers in the intervention arm received a multicomponent educational intervention. Fifty-six providers (nā€‰=ā€‰29 intervention and nā€‰=ā€‰27 control) completed baseline and 12-month follow-up surveys assessing beliefs and intentions about extending screening intervals.


The 12-month assessment showed providers in the intervention arm were significantly more likely than those in the control arm to recommend a 3-year screening interval (guideline recommendation at time of study) with a normal co-test result. Providers who received the intervention were significantly more likely to agree that routine co-testing is the best way to screen for cervical cancer, that extending the screening interval would be good, easy, and beneficial, and to disagree that the increased screening interval would cause patients to lose contact with the medical system.


Educating providers on the natural history of HPV infection and cervical cancer and the benefits of extended intervals increased their willingness to follow guidelines. This study provides evidence that an educational intervention delivered with HPV testing materials may be effective in encouraging appropriate cervical screening intervals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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