Background: Home-based self-sampling for human papillomavirus (HPV) testing may be an alternative for women not attending clinic-based cervical cancer screening.
Methods: We assessed barriers to care and motivators to use at-home HPV self-sampling kits during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a randomized controlled trial evaluating kit effectiveness. Participants were women aged 30-65 and under-screened for cervical cancer in a safety-net healthcare system. We conducted telephone surveys in English/Spanish among a subgroup of trial participants, assessed differences between groups, and determined statistical significance at p<0.05.
Results: Over half of 233 survey participants reported that clinic-based screening (Pap) is uncomfortable (67.8%), embarrassing (52.4%), and discomfort seeing male providers (63.1%). The last two factors were significantly more prevalent among Spanish versus English speakers (66.4% vs. 30% (p=0.000) and 69.9 vs. 52.2% (p=0.006), respectively). Most women who completed the kit found Pap more embarrassing (69.3%), stressful (55.6%), and less convenient (55.6%) than the kit. The first factor was more prevalent among Spanish versus English speakers (79.6% vs. 53.38%, p=0.001) and among patients with elementary education or below.
Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic influenced most (59.5%) to participate in the trial due to fear of COVID, difficulty making appointments, and ease of using kits. HPV self-sampling kits may reduce barriers among under-screened women in a safety-net system.
Funding: This study is supported by a grant from the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD, R01MD013715, PI: JR Montealegre).
Clinical trial number: NCT03898167.
All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting file; Source Data files have been provided for Tables 1-4.
- Jane R Montealegre
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: The survey was administered by trained, bilingual researcher coordinators in the patient's preferred language (English or Spanish). Participants were asked to provide verbal consent before commencing the survey and were sent a $20 gift card upon completion. This research was reviewed and approved by Baylor College of Medicine and Harris Health System's Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) (protocol ID H-44944). A waiver of written documentation of informed consent was granted by the IRBs for participants in the parent study given the minimal risks involved and to minimize participation bias. An IRB-approved verbal consent script was read to participants randomized to participate in the telephone survey. After being read the script, patients were given the opportunity to ask questions, and verbally indicated whether they consented to participate in the telephone survey. A consent to publish was not obtained as only aggregate data will be reported.
- Johannes Berkhof, Amsterdam UMC Location VUmc, Netherlands
© 2023, Parker et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Irregular sleep-wake timing may cause circadian disruption leading to several chronic age-related diseases. We examined the relationship between sleep regularity and risk of all-cause, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer mortality in 88,975 participants from the prospective UK Biobank cohort.
The sleep regularity index (SRI) was calculated as the probability of an individual being in the same state (asleep or awake) at any two time points 24 hr apart, averaged over 7 days of accelerometry (range 0–100, with 100 being perfectly regular). The SRI was related to the risk of mortality in time-to-event models.
The mean sample age was 62 years (standard deviation [SD], 8), 56% were women, and the median SRI was 60 (SD, 10). There were 3010 deaths during a mean follow-up of 7.1 years. Following adjustments for demographic and clinical variables, we identified a non-linear relationship between the SRI and all-cause mortality hazard (p [global test of spline term]<0.001). Hazard ratios, relative to the median SRI, were 1.53 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.41, 1.66) for participants with SRI at the 5th percentile (SRI = 41) and 0.90 (95% CI: 0.81, 1.00) for those with SRI at the 95th percentile (SRI = 75), respectively. Findings for CVD mortality and cancer mortality followed a similar pattern.
Irregular sleep-wake patterns are associated with higher mortality risk.
National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (GTN2009264; GTN1158384), National Institute on Aging (AG062531), Alzheimer’s Association (2018-AARG-591358), and the Banting Fellowship Program (#454104).
The Coronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19) has impacted the health and day-to-day life of individuals, especially the elderly and people with certain pre-existing medical conditions, including cancer. The purpose of this study was to investigate how COVID-19 impacted access to cancer screenings and treatment, by studying the participants in the Multiethnic Cohort (MEC) study.
The MEC has been following over 215,000 residents of Hawai‘i and Los Angeles for the development of cancer and other chronic diseases since 1993–1996. It includes men and women of five racial and ethnic groups: African American, Japanese American, Latino, Native Hawaiian, and White. In 2020, surviving participants were sent an invitation to complete an online survey on the impact of COVID-19 on their daily life activities, including adherence to cancer screening and treatment. Approximately 7,000 MEC participants responded. A cross-sectional analysis was performed to investigate the relationships between the postponement of regular health care visits and cancer screening procedures or treatment with race and ethnicity, age, education, and comorbidity.
Women with more education, women with lung disease, COPD, or asthma, and women and men diagnosed with cancer in the past 5 years were more likely to postpone any cancer screening test/procedure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Groups less likely to postpone cancer screening included older women compared to younger women and Japanese American men and women compared to White men and women.
This study revealed specific associations of race/ethnicity, age, education level, and comorbidities with the cancer-related screening and healthcare of MEC participants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased monitoring of patients in high-risk groups for cancer and other diseases is of the utmost importance as the chance of undiagnosed cases or poor prognosis is increased as a result of delayed screening and treatment.
This research was partially supported by the Omidyar 'Ohana Foundation and grant U01 CA164973 from the National Cancer Institute.