Study Protocol for the Most Effective Recall Method in a Cervical Cancer Screening Program in Klang, Malaysia

  • Rashid, Rima Marhayu Abdul (Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University Malaya) ;
  • Dahlui, Maznah (Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University Malaya)
  • Published : 2013.10.30


Background: Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among Malaysian women with an ASR of 17.9 and a mortality rate of 5.6 per 100,000 population in 2008 (GLOBOCAN, 2008). The 5 year prevalence was estimated to be 14.5 per 100,000 population. As the second most common cancer affecting productive females, cervical cancer imposes an impact to the socioeconomic aspect of the country. However, the poor uptake of cervical cancer screening is a major problem in detecting early pre-cancerous lesions and thus, delay in initiating treatment for cervical cancer. Realizing the urgency to increase the uptake of PAP smear, besides enhancing the promotion of PAP smear screening for women above 35 years old, the call-recall system for pap smear screening had been piloted in one of the suburban districts which aimed to improve regular participation of women for cervical and breast cancer screening. This is of public health importance as identifying the best feasible option to increase patient's respond to participate in the screening program effectively in our setting will be helpful in implementing an organized regular population based screening program tailored to our setting. The pilot program of cervical cancer screening in Klang was an opportunity to assess different options in recalling patients for a repeat pap smear to increase their participation and adherence to the program. Methods and Results: This was a population based randomized control trial. Women aged 20-65 years in the population that matched the inclusion and exclusion criteria were re-called for a repeat smear. There are four different intervention groups; letter, registered letters, short messages services (SMS) and phone calls where 250 subjects were recruited into each group. Samples were generated randomly from the same population in Klang into four different groups. The first group received a recall letter for a repeat smear similar to the one that has been given during the first invitation. The intervention groups were either be given a registered letter, an SMS or a phone call to re-call them. The socio-demographic data of the patients who came for uptake were collected for further analysis. All the groups were followed up after 8 weeks to assess their compliance to the recall. Conclusions: The study will provide recommendations about the most effective methods for recall in a population based pap smear screening program on two outcomes: i) patients response; ii) uptake for repeat pap smear.


Cervical cancer;screening;randomized control trial;recall;intervention;uptake


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