Long-term worries after colposcopy: which women are at increased risk?

Linda Sharp (Lead / Corresponding author), Seonaidh C. Cotton, Margaret E. Cruickshank, Nicola M. Gray, Keith Neal, Kieran Rothnie, Alison J. Thornton, Leslie G. Walker, Julian Little, The TOMBOLA group

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: A colposcopy examination is the main management option for women with an abnormal cervical screening test result. Although some women experience adverse psychological effects after colposcopy, those at greatest risk are unknown. We investigated predictors of worries about cervical cancer, sex, future fertility and general health during 12 to 30 months after colposcopy. Methods: We invited 1,515 women, aged 20 to 59 years with low-grade cervical cytology who attended colposcopy to complete questionnaires at recruitment (~8 weeks after cytology result) and after 12, 18, 24, and 30 months of follow up. Outcomes were worries about having cervical cancer, having sex, future fertility, and general health at any time during follow-up. Factors significantly associated with each outcome were identified using multiple logistic regression. Results: At one or more time points during follow-up, 40% of women reported worries about having cervical cancer, 26% about having sex, 24% about future fertility, and 60% about general health. For all outcomes except sex, worries reported at recruitment were associated with significantly increased risk of worries during follow-up. Significant anxiety at recruitment was associated with all worries during follow-up. Women diagnosed with CIN2+ had significantly higher risks of worries about cervical cancer and future fertility. Management received was associated significantly with worries about cervical cancer and having sex. Younger women significantly more often reported worries about future fertility, whereas women who had children had reduced risk of future fertility worries but increased risk of cervical cancer worries. Conclusion: Clinical, sociodemographic, lifestyle, and psychological factors predicted risk of reporting worries after colposcopy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)517-527
    Number of pages11
    JournalWomen's Health Issues
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Maternity and Midwifery
    • Health(social science)


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