National guidance document on correspondence for cervical cancer screening programs

Learn about best practices for correspondence with women and health-care providers about cervical cancer screening programs in this 2013 report

Since its introduction over fifty years ago, cervical cancer screening in Canada and elsewhere has resulted in dramatically declining cervical cancer rates. In recent years, those declines have stabilized. To further reduce cervical cancer rates, effort must be made to make sure women participate in screening and health-care providers follow up on abnormal results.

Direct contact, or correspondence, between a cervical cancer screening program and a woman and/or her health-care provider is a key part of an organized screening program. Directly involving a woman in her cervical cancer screening choices can be an effective way to make sure recommended screening guidelines are followed.

Currently in Canada, both the amount and manner of correspondence varies widely among provinces and territories. This document aims to describe the characteristics of robust correspondence for cervical cancer screening programs:

  • Invitation to participate in cervical cancer screening
  • Notification of screening results
  • Recall notice to return for next screening
  • Follow-up on abnormal test results

This report also promotes best practices for correspondence to make sure participation and follow-up are high quality.

Overall, this report recommends that all Canadian cervical cancer screening programs should start using the described correspondence. Each province or territory should prioritize and determine the best way to apply correspondence guidelines by taking capacity, resources and overall program goals into account.

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