Background: The present study aimed to inform the production of a resource for women who have had a high-grade cervical abnormality and are scheduled to undergo testing for human papillomavirus (HPV) at their 12-month follow-up.
Methods: Two rounds of semi-structured, qualitative interviews were held with women who were attending a gynaecological oncology clinic at a major teaching hospital for women in Melbourne, Australia, 6 months after treatment for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) to receive a follow-up Pap test and colposcopy. In an initial round of interviews, we gauged the reactions of 16 women to an existing information brochure containing general information about HPV. Based on the findings from the interviews, a second brochure aimed specifically for women scheduled to undergo HPV testing as part of their post treatment follow-up was drafted. Feedback was then gathered from a further 12 women.
Results: While all participants had received some information and counselling about HPV and HPV testing as part of their treatment, many still experienced high levels of stress and anxiety about cancer and the sexually transmissible nature of HPV. Many also still had unanswered questions about HPV, their treatment regime and future prognosis.
Conclusion: For a brochure to provide an effective adjunct to counselling, it is essential that it is carefully developed and pilot tested to ensure that it is easily understood and meets the information needs of the target audience. Such materials need to provide both medical and psychosocial information about HPV and be presented in accessible, easy to understand language.