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, (5), CD002834

Interventions Targeted at Women to Encourage the Uptake of Cervical Screening


Interventions Targeted at Women to Encourage the Uptake of Cervical Screening

Thomas Everett et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.


Background: World-wide, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women. Increasing the uptake of screening, alongside increasing informed choice is of great importance in controlling this disease through prevention and early detection.

Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of interventions aimed at women, to increase the uptake, including informed uptake, of cervical cancer screening.

Search strategy: We searched the Cochrane Gynaecological Cancer Group Trials Register, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), Issue 1, 2009. MEDLINE, EMBASE and LILACS databases up to March 2009. We also searched registers of clinical trials, abstracts of scientific meetings, reference lists of included studies and contacted experts in the field.

Selection criteria: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of interventions to increase uptake/informed uptake of cervical cancer screening.

Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently abstracted data and assessed risk of bias. Where possible the data were synthesised in a meta-analysis.

Main results: Thirty-eight trials met our inclusion criteria. These trials assessed the effectiveness of invitational and educational interventions, counselling, risk factor assessment and procedural interventions. Heterogeneity between trials limited statistical pooling of data. Overall, however, invitations appear to be effective methods of increasing uptake. In addition, there is limited evidence to support the use of educational materials. Secondary outcomes including cost data were incompletely documented so evidence was limited. Most trials were at moderate risk of bias. Informed uptake of cervical screening was not reported in any trials.

Authors' conclusions: There is evidence to support the use of invitation letters to increase the uptake of cervical screening. There is limited evidence to support educational interventions but it is unclear what format is most effective. The majority of the studies are from developed countries and so the relevance to developing countries is unclear.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Methodological quality graph: review authors’ judgements about each methodological quality item presented as percentages across all included studies.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Methodological quality summary: review authors’ judgements about each methodological quality item for each included study.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Funnel plot of comparison: 1 Invitation vs control, outcome: 1.1 Uptake of screening.

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