Effective cervical screening reduces cancer incidence and mortality. However, these benefits may be accompanied by some harms, potentially including adverse psychological impacts. Studies suggest women may have concerns about various specific issues, such as cervical cancer. The present study compared worries about cervical cancer, future fertility, having sex, and general health between women managed by alternative policies at colposcopy.
The present study is a multicentre individually-randomized controlled trial nestled within the National Health Service Cervical Screening Programmes. Researchers conducted this study in the UK.
Women completed questionnaires at recruitment and after 12, 18, 24, and 30 months. Outcomes were prevalence of worries at each time-point and at any time-point during follow-up. The primary analysis was by ITT; secondary per-protocol study compared groups according to management received among women with an abnormal transformation zone.
Cumulative prevalence of worries included cervical cancer at 40%, having sex at 26%, future fertility at 24%, and general health at 60%. There were no statistically significant differences between management arms in cumulative or point prevalence of any of the worries in ITT analyses.
The study concluded no difference in the prevalence of specific worries in women randomized to alternative post-colposcopy management policies.