Strategic Priority Fund Award: Dr. Dirk van Niekerk
February 2, 2017
Support from the Strategic Priority Fund Award will allow Dr. Dirk van Niekerk, medical director, Cervical Screening Program, BC Cancer Agency, to embark on his project titled Using an online intervention for self-collection based HPV testing to improve cervical cancer screening rates in the Fraser Region of BC.
Despite the success of British Columbia’s cervical cancer screening program, women who do not regularly attend screening are at higher risk for cervical cancer. New strategies are needed to overcome barriers for conventional screening and improve uptake among non-attenders. This research project will test the feasibility of expanding a highly successful online sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing platform to include self-collected cervical cancer screening.
The pilot will be conducted in the Fraser health region where screening rates are the lowest in the province. Participants who test positive for high risk strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) will be contacted and referred for further testing and care. This approach can improve access and acceptability of screening and prevent cervical cancer among high-risk women. As the province plans for the shift to HPV-based screening, the findings of this research project will have significant policy and clinical impacts.