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Discussing Cervical Cancer Screening Options: Outcomes to Guide Conversations Between Patients and Providers

Purpose. In 2018, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) endorsed three strategies for cervical cancer screening in women ages 30 to 65: cytology every 3 years, testing for high-risk types of human papillomavirus (hrHPV) every 5 years, and cytology plus hrHPV testing (co-testing) every 5 years. It further recommended that women discuss with health care providers which testing strategy is best for them. To inform such discussions, we used decision analysis to estimate outcomes of screening strategies recommended for women at age 30. Methods. We constructed a Markov decision model using estimates of the natural history of HPV and cervical neoplasia. We evaluated the three USPSTF-endorsed strategies, hrHPV testing every 3 years and no screening. Outcomes included colposcopies with biopsy, -positive testing (a colposcopy in which no cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 or worse was found), treatments, cancers, and cancer mortality expressed per 10,000 women over a shorter-than-lifetime horizon (15-year). Results. All strategies resulted in substantially lower cancer and cancer death rates compared with no screening. Strategies with the lowest likelihood of cancer and cancer death generally had higher likelihood of colposcopy and -positive testing. Conclusions. The screening strategies we evaluated involved tradeoffs in terms of benefits and harms. Because individual women may place different weights on these projected outcomes, the optimal choice for each woman may best be discerned through shared decision making.

Authors: Holt, Hunter K; Kulasingam, Shalini; Sanstead, Erinn C; Alarid-Escudero, Fernando; Smith-McCune, Karen; Gregorich, Steven E; Silverberg, Michael J; Huchko, Megan J; Kuppermann, Miriam; Sawaya, George F

2020 Jul-Dec;5(2):2381468320952409. Epub 2020-08-19.

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