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Women's experiences of abnormal Pap smear results: a qualitative study
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Health and Caring Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1569-6675
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Health and Caring Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5200-1740
Karolinska Institute ; Kalmar County Hospital.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Health and Caring Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1944-773X
2017 (English)In: Sexual & Reproductive HealthCare, ISSN 1877-5756, E-ISSN 1877-5764, Vol. 12, 3-8 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives

To describe women’s experiences of abnormal Pap smear result.

Methods

Ten women were recruited from a women’s health clinic. Qualitative interviews based on six open-ended questions were conducted, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed by content analysis.

Results

The women believed that their abnormal Pap smear result was indicative of having cancer. This created anxiety in the women, which resulted in the need for emotional support and information. Testing positive with human papillomavirus (HPV) also meant consequences for the relatives as well as concerns about the sexually transmitted nature of the virus. Finally, the women had a need to be treated with respect by the healthcare professionals in order to reduce feelings of being abused.

Conclusions

In general, women have a low level of awareness of HPV and its relation to abnormal Pap smear results. Women who receive abnormal Pap smear results need oral information, based on the individual women’s situation, and delivered at the time the women receive the test result. It is also essential that a good emotional contact be established between the women and the healthcare professionals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017. Vol. 12, 3-8 p.
Keyword [en]
Abnormal Pap smears, Cervical cancer screening, Experience, Content analysis
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Health and Caring Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-63468DOI: 10.1016/j.srhc.2017.01.002ISI: 000401884100002PubMedID: 28477928OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-63468DiVA: diva2:1094156
Available from: 2017-05-09 Created: 2017-05-09 Last updated: 2017-09-25Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Women receiving notification of an abnormal Pap smear result: - experiences and impact on health-related quality of life
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Women receiving notification of an abnormal Pap smear result: - experiences and impact on health-related quality of life
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Aim: The aim of this thesis was to investigate experiences of receiving notification of an abnormal Pap smear result and its impact on women’s health-related quality of life as well as to investigate women’s awareness of human papillomavirus.

 

Methods: In total, 176 women and 20 healthcare professionals participated. Data were collected through individual interviews (I, II) and a questionnaire (IV) including the instrument Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy – Cervical Dysplasia (FACIT-CD) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). For the translation and cross-cultural adaptation of the FACIT-CD, and for evaluation of its linguistic validity and reliability, cognitive debriefing interviews and a questionnaire consisting of the Swedish instrument FACIT-CD was used. Data were analysed by content analysis (I, II) and by using statistical analysis (III, IV), while one part (III) was analysed according to FACIT translation methodology.  

 

Results: Women receiving notification of an abnormal Pap smear result have good overall HRQoL; they become anxious but not depressed. Reasons for anxiety were mainly that women misinterpreted the result as cancer, which could lead to lower attendance for further investigation, treatment and follow-up. To cope with the anxiety, women sought emotional support and information. They primarily used the Internet for information but also turned to healthcare professionals for information needs. Moreover, women had low awareness of HPV, its sexually transmitted nature, and its relationship to abnormal Pap smear results and cervical cancer. An awareness of HPV as a sexually transmitted infection did not lead to higher level of anxiety or more depression symptoms or worse HRQoL, compared to not being aware. Finally, the Swedish FACIT-CD is equivalent to the English version and linguistically valid and exhibited good internal consistency reliability.

 

Conclusion: Women have low awareness of HPV and abnormal Pap smear results, whereupon they misinterpret their test result as cancer. It is of importance that women understand their test result, in order to minimise anxiety as well as to maintain high attendance for investigation, treatment and follow-up of abnormalities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Växjö: Linnaeus University Press, 2017. 96 p.
Series
Linnaeus University Dissertations, 294/2017
Keyword
Abnormal Pap smear, human papillomavirus, cervical cancer screening, health-related qualtiy of life, anxiety, depression, HADS, FACIT-CD, translation
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Health and Caring Sciences, Caring Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-68093 (URN)978-91-88357-86-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-10-13, V159, Stagneliusgatan 14, Kalmar, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
The Kamprad Family Foundation, 20150012
Available from: 2017-09-25 Created: 2017-09-25 Last updated: 2017-09-25Bibliographically approved

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