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Centre for Behavioural
Research in Cancer

Research and evaluation to support PapScreen Victoria

The program of work undertook studies to develop and evaluate PapScreen Victoria’s mass media campaigns and other public communication strategies to encourage women to have a Pap test every two years, as per the recommendation at the time for early detection of cervical cancer.  Studies included focus groups to explore perceptions of women who under-screen, telephone or online population surveys of womens’ knowledge, attitudes and practices pertaining to cervical cancer screening, analyses to relate the rate of Pap tests as recorded by the Victorian Cervical Cancer Registry to the timing of mass media campaigns or personalised Pap test invitation or reminder letters to women, general practice clinical audits, and pre-testing of information resources for women. More latterly we undertook or collaborated on studies to explore and assess aspects of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination, and studies to assist evaluation of self-sampling of HPV DNA which determines whether a woman is at risk for cervical cancer caused by this virus (the iPap trial).

PapScreen Victoria was decommissioned in 2017, consistent with the change in Australian policy to fully adopt HPV vaccination as the primary way to protect women from developing cervical cancer, and the move to a five-yearly Pap test. Key findings from this program of research were that televised mass media campaigns increased rates of cervical cancer screening overall, among women of all socio-economic groups and among women who were overdue for a Pap test, but did not further increase screening rates among already frequent screeners. Invitation letters and reminders from the Registry were effective in promoting screening and re-screening. Self-sampling using iPap who tested positive for HPV was found to improve participation in cervical screening for never- and under-screened women, and most women with HPV detected had appropriate clinical investigation. While most research output was in the form of internal reports for the PapScreen program, research published in peer-reviewed journal papers is listed below.

CBRC staff

Past staff included Robyn Mullins, Michelle Grainger, Jenny Anderson and Kate Scalzo

Collaborators

Victorian Cervical Cancer Registry

Funding

PapScreen Victoria (funded by the Victorian Department for Health and Human Services)