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Int J Clin Oncol. 2017 Feb;22(1):102-106. doi: 10.1007/s10147-016-1023-8. Epub 2016 Jul 27.

Psychological impact of positive cervical cancer screening results among Japanese women.

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Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8575, Japan.
Faculty of Medicine, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8577, Japan.
International Affairs Division, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, 1-2-2 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-8916, Japan.
Total Health Evaluation Center Tsukuba, 1-2 Amakubo, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-0005, Japan.



While cervical cancer screening is useful for detecting and then treating the disease at an early stage, most women with screen-positive results are free from cervical cancer but nevertheless subject to the unnecessary worry entailed in receiving such results. The purpose of this study was to examine whether receiving a screen-positive result was actually related to psychological distress among Japanese women who underwent cervical cancer screening.


We conducted a questionnaire survey at health facilities in a semiurban city of Ibaraki prefecture, involving 1744 women who underwent cervical cancer screening and 72 who received screen-positive results and then underwent further testing. We used the K6 scale to assess their psychological distress (K6 score ≥5) and performed multiple logistic regression analyses to estimate the relative effect of receiving screen-positive results on psychological distress.


Psychological distress was more prevalent among women with screen-positive results (OR 2.22; 95 % CI 1.32-3.74), while it was also related to history of mental health consultation (OR 2.26; 95 % CI 1.69-3.01) and marital status (OR 1.32; 95 % CI 1.02-1.70).


Receiving a positive cervical cancer screening result was associated with psychological distress. To alleviate this psychological impact, the current form of communicating the screening results should be reconsidered.


Cervical cancer; Cervical cancer screening; Mental health; Pap smear; Positive screening result; Psychological distress

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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