Cervical Cancer Screening in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Who Should Be Screening?

Anuj Chhaparia, Florence Odufalu, Mitchell Edwards, Krishna Patel, Kara Christopher, Katie Schroeder, Charlene Prather, Muhammad B. Hammami


Background: Immunosuppressed women with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at elevated risk of cervical cancer yet have lower screening rates. The objective of this study was to assess the familiarity with cervical cancer screening recommendations, and the perceived responsibility for implementing screening among three physician groups involved in the clinical care of women with IBD: primary care physicians (PCP), gastroenterologists (GI) and gynecologists (GYN).

Methods: We anonymously surveyed a sample of 117 PCP, 52 GYN and 35 GI physicians affiliated with Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, MO, USA, from April 2018 to January 2019. The physicians completed a questionnaire adressing essential aspects of cervical cancer screening such as screening age, screening frequency, human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, comfort level in performing Papanicolaou (Pap) smears, perception of physician responsibility in terms of which physicians should perform Pap smears.

Results: A total of 2.6% of PCPs, 37% of GIs and 29% of GYNs reported familiarity with cervical cancer screening recommendations. In addition, PCP and GI had no definite opinions regarding which physicians should be in charge of cervical cancer screening and performing Pap smears. However, 94% of GYNs felt that they should be in charge of cervical cancer screening and performing Pap smears.

Conclusions: An apparent lack of familiarity exists among all three physician groups regarding cervical cancer screening recommendations in immunosuppressed patients with IBD. Similarly, there is no consensus regarding which specialty should be responsible for cervical cancer screening in this patient population.

Gastroenterol Res. 2020;13(5):208-216
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/gr1287


IBD; Cervical cancer screening; Immunosuppression

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