Perceived risk of cervical cancer among pre-screening age women (18-24 years): the impact of information about cervical cancer risk factors and the causal role of HPV

Nadarzynski, T., Waller, J., Robb, K.A. and Marlow, L. A.V. (2012) Perceived risk of cervical cancer among pre-screening age women (18-24 years): the impact of information about cervical cancer risk factors and the causal role of HPV. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 88(6), pp. 400-406. (doi:10.1136/sextrans-2012-050482)

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Abstract

<p>Objectives: Current National Health Service cervical screening information does not explain that the cause of cervical cancer is a sexually transmitted infection (human papillomavirus (HPV)). This study aimed to consider the impact that providing this information, in addition to risk factor information, might have on women's perceived risk of cervical cancer.</p> <p>Methods: Female students aged 18–24 years (n=606) completed a web-based survey and were randomised to receive (1) control information about cervical cancer; (2) details of the link between HPV and cervical cancer; (3) risk factor information or (4) details about the link with HPV + risk factor information. Risk perceptions for cervical cancer were assessed before and after reading the information.</p> <p>Results: There was a significant difference in perceived risk of cervical cancer between the four groups following information exposure (p=0.002). Compared with the control group, risk perceptions were significantly lower among women given risk factor information but not among those informed about HPV. There were significant group by risk factor interactions for smoking status (p<0.001), age of first sex (p=0.018) and number of sexual partners (p<0.001). Risk perceptions were lower among women considered at low risk and given risk factor information, but there was no association between information group and perceived risk for high-risk women.</p> <p>Conclusions: Providing risk factor information appears to reduce cervical cancer risk perceptions, but learning about the aetiological role of HPV appears to have no impact on risk perceptions. Incorporating brief information about HPV as the cause of cervical cancer should be in addition to, rather than in place of, risk factor information.</p>

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Robb, Dr Katie
Authors: Nadarzynski, T., Waller, J., Robb, K.A., and Marlow, L. A.V.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Sexually Transmitted Infections
ISSN:1368-4973
Published Online:19 April 2012

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