How distressing is referral to colposcopy in cervical cancer screening? A prospective quality of life study

Ida Korfage, Marie-louise Bot, SM Westenberg, Helmerhorst, Dik Habbema, Marjolein Ballegooijen

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Objective. Referral for colposcopy because of abnormal Pap test results is likely to be distressing, but the extent and duration of these effects are unknown. We aimed to fill this gap. Methods. We conducted a prospective observational study at two departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology (an academic and a non-academic setting). Women referred for colposcopy completed questionnaires before colposcopy, and at 1, 3, and 6 months afterwards. A reference group of 706 screen participants, aged 29-60 years old, was included and completed questionnaires once. Main outcome measures were genetic health-related quality of life (HRQoL), assessed through the EQ-5D and the SF-12 physical and mental. scores (PCS-12 and MCS-12); anxiety as-assessed by STAI-6, and screen-specific anxiety as assessed by the psychological consequences questionnaire (PCQ). Results. 154 women responded to the questionnaire, of whom 132 were included in the analyses. Histological results were CIN 1 in 17/115 women (15%) and CIN 2 + in 62 (54%). In 36 women (31%) there was no histologically confirmed neoplasia. Before colposcopy physical HRQoL scores were similar or slightly better than in the reference group, while mental HRQoL (MSC-12) and (screen-specific) anxiety were worse (p < 0.001). Irrespective of CIN-grades, anxiety washed out during follow-up (p < 0.001), with changes being clinically relevant. Conclusions. Referral for gynecological evaluation because of abnormal PAP-test results was distressing. Anxiety - and not the physical burden of management - seemed to be the most bothersome to women. For all CIN-grades, distress disappeared over six months following colposcopy, suggesting a reassuring effect of gynecological management. (C) 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)142-148
Number of pages7
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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