Self-sampling in cervical cancer screening: comparison of a brush-based and a lavage-based cervicovaginal self-sampling device

BMC Cancer. 2016 Mar 15:16:221. doi: 10.1186/s12885-016-2246-9.


Background: High coverage and attendance is essential for cervical cancer screening success. We investigated whether the previous positive experiences on increasing screening attendance by self-sampling in Finland are sampler device dependent.

Methods: All women identified to cervical cancer screening in 2013 in 28 Finnish municipalities were randomised to receive a lavage- (n = 6030) or a brush type of self-sampling device (n = 6045) in case of non-attendance after two invitation letters. Seven hundred seventy non-attending women in the lavage device group and 734 in the brush group received the self-sampling offer. Women's experiences were enquired with an enclosed questionnaire.

Results: Total attendance in the lavage group increased from 71.0 to 77.7% by reminder letters and further to 80.5% by self-sampling. Respective increase in the brush group was from 72.2 to 78.6% and then to 81.5%. The participation by self-sampling was 21.7% (95% CI 18.8-24.6) in the lavage group and 23.8% (95% CI 20.8-26.9) in the brush group. Women's self-sampling experiences were mainly positive and the sampler devices were equally well accepted by the women.

Conclusion: Our study shows that the lavage device and brush device perform similarly in terms of uptake by non-attending women and user comfort. If self-sampling is integrated to the routine screening program in Finland, either of the devices can be chosen without the fear of losing participants due to a less acceptable device.

Keywords: Acceptability; Cervical cancer screening; HPV; Self-sampling; Socio-demographic factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Early Detection of Cancer*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Papillomaviridae / pathogenicity
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Care
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Specimen Handling
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / virology