Cervical screening: a guideline for clinical practice in Ontario

J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2012 May;34(5):453-458. doi: 10.1016/S1701-2163(16)35242-2.


Objective: To develop guidelines to inform the Ontario Cervical Screening Program's invitations to women in the target population, provide evidence-based clinical practice guidance for practitioners, and inform policy decisions.

Methods: A systematic review was conducted of relevant websites, the Medline and EMBASE databases (2005 to November 2010), and the Cochrane Library (2005 to 2010). No guidelines or systematic reviews were located that addressed the topics of interest. The evidence base consisted of seven randomized controlled trials, three case-control studies, one cohort study, and one review article. A methodologist performed data identification and extraction. Review of the data and quality assessment was carried out by the authors, who have expertise in methodology, gynaecologic oncology, pathology, and family medicine. The systematic review methods and resulting recommendations were reviewed by an internal panel with clinical, methodological, and oncology expertise. External review was provided by Ontario clinicians and other experts.

Conclusions: The guideline development process led to recommendations for the optimal primary cervical screening method, screening interval, and age of screening cessation for Ontario women in the target population. There was insufficient evidence to provide a recommendation for age of initiation of cervical screening with HPV testing. The creation of an organized screening program in the province will allow the implementation of evidence-based recommendations. We provide interim recommendations for cervical screening until HPV testing has been funded.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Early Detection of Cancer*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ontario
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis*