Worldwide, cervical cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers; however, the incidence of cervical cancer has been decreasing in the past three decades, largely due to routine screening with cytology. HPV is the major risk factor for the development of cervical cancer, with 99% of cervical cancer being associated with HPV. It is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the world and about three out of every four sexually active Canadians will have at least one HPV infection at some point in their lives. In view of the anticipated higher sensitivity of HPV testing, some experts and stakeholders have called for HPV testing to be used in Canada as the primary screening tool, replacing the cytology test. Currently, one Canadian jurisdiction is in the process of implementing routine primary HPV testing and a number of Canadian jurisdictions are considering, planning, or piloting primary HPV testing for their cervical cancer screening programs.
CADTH undertook an Optimal Use project to assess the clinical effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, patients’ perspectives and experiences, ethical, and implementation issues associated with HPV testing for primary cervical cancer screening.