Objectives: High attendance rates in cervical screening are essential for effective cancer prevention. Offering HPV self-sampling to non-responders increases participation rates. The objectives of this study were to determine why non-responders do not attend regular screening, and why they do or do not participate when offered a self-sampling device.
Methods: A questionnaire study was conducted in the Netherlands from October 2011 to December 2012. A total of 35,477 non-responders were invited to participate in an HPV self-sampling study; 5347 women did opt out. Finally, 30,130 women received a questionnaire and self-sampling device.
Results: The analysis was based on 9484 returned questionnaires (31.5%) with a self-sample specimen, and 682 (2.3%) without. Among women who returned both, the main reason for non-attendance to cervical screening was that they forgot to schedule an appointment (3068; 32.3%). The most important reason to use the self-sampling device was the opportunity to take a sample in their own time-setting (4763; 50.2%). A total of 30.9% of the women who did not use the self-sampling device preferred after all to have a cervical smear taken instead.
Conclusions: Organisational barriers are the main reason for non-attendance in regular cervical screening. Important reasons for non-responders to the regular screening to use a self-sampling device are convenience and self-control.
Keywords: Early detection of cancer; HPV self-sampling; Non-attendance; Questionnaires; Screening; Uterine cervical neoplasms.
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