Addressing Unmet Basic Needs to Improve Colposcopy Adherence Among Women With Abnormal Cervical Cancer Screening

J Low Genit Tract Dis. 2021 Apr 1;25(2):106-112. doi: 10.1097/LGT.0000000000000593.


Objectives: The aims of the study were to identify unmet basic needs (BNs) among women referred to colposcopy, to assess patient acceptability/satisfaction with assistance from a navigator to address unmet BNs, and to estimate adherence to colposcopy.

Methods: Women were recruited between September 2017 and January 2019 from 2 academic colposcopy centers, one serving a rural and one an urban area. Basic needs were assessed by phone before colposcopy appointments and considered unmet if unlikely to resolve in 1 month. Colposcopy adherence prestudy and poststudy implementation was abstracted over 4-6 months from administrative records. After a lead-in phase of 25 patients at each site, a BN navigator was offered to new participants with 1 or more unmet BNs. Primary outcome was adherence to initial appointment.

Results: Among 100 women, 59% had 1 or more unmet BNs, with similar prevalence between urban and rural sites. Adherence to initial colposcopy was 83% overall, 72% at the rural clinic, and 94% at the urban clinic (p = .006). These adherence rates were improved from 4 months before study launch (30/59 [51%] rural clinic and 68/137 [50%] urban clinic). Although acceptability of BN navigation was greater than 96% and women felt that it helped them get to their colposcopy visit, having a navigator was not associated with adherence. Women reporting no unmet BNs had the lowest adherence compared with women with 1 or more unmet BNs, regardless of navigator assistance (p = .03).

Conclusions: Disadvantaged women who need colposcopy have unmet BNs and value navigator assistance for initial appointments. However, when appointment scheduling includes telephone reminders and inquiring about BNs, a navigator may not add value.

Trial registration: NCT03317470.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colposcopy / psychology*
  • Colposcopy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Early Detection of Cancer / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Papanicolaou Test
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Compliance / psychology
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data
  • Pilot Projects
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Vaginal Smears

Associated data