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Will COVID-19 be the tipping point for primary HPV self-sampling?

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Self-sampling is poised to be a disruptor for cervical screening. So far, cancer screening has been a causality of COVID-19; however, the opposite may transpire for self-sampling. Self-sampling enables socially distanced cervical screening with an outreach that extends to underserved populations. As evidence mounts that self-sampling is noninferior to clinician-taken samples, the focus for self-sampling is now as a primary screening option for all women. Now, we have evidence from a modeling study (using Australia as an exemplar) to suggest that program effectiveness with primary self-sampling would be better than the current program, even if sensitivity is lower. Regulatory issues, suitable triage strategies, and clear communication about self-sampling are hurdles yet to be overcome. Nevertheless, existing evidence coupled with COVID-19 could be the tipping point for wider introduction of self-sampling.




Lim, A. W. W. (2021). Will COVID-19 be the tipping point for primary HPV self-sampling? Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, 30(2), 245–247.

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