Objective: To develop evidence-based consensus recommendations on the delivery of cervical cancer screening, human papillomavirus (HPV) education, HPV testing, and the optimal tool for cervical cytology within the Canadian health system.
Participants: Leading up to a forum held in Ottawa on November 21 and 22, 2003, 254 registrants reviewed position papers through a Web-based discussion group. Experts in program management, clinical practice, epidemiology, public health, economics, and women's health, representing 48 organizations, then participated in the 2-day forum to develop consensus recommendations.
Evidence: Writing groups prepared position papers on optimal methods for cervical cytology; education concerning HPV; HPV testing in primary screening; HPV testing as a triage tool in cytopathology; and delivery mechanisms for cervical screening. Systematic reviews were the primary source of evidence supplemented by literature searches.
Consensus process: Feedback from Web-based discussions was incorporated into consecutive drafts of position papers. At the forum, recommendations and supporting evidence were presented, further debated in small-group sessions, and discussed in a plenary session. Despite divergent professional mandates and opinions, consensus was achieved on 15 recommendations across all areas. Final recommendations were posted to the Web for further input and circulated for written consensus by participants.
Conclusions: The recommendations cover the use of new evidence and technologies in cervical cancer prevention in Canada and provide a framework for provision of HPV education, planning the implementation of new cervical screening technologies in Canada, the development of evaluation plans, and new research areas.