Innovative Approaches to Cervical Cancer Screening for Sex Trade Workers: An International Scoping Review Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • OBJECTIVE: Female sex trade workers are among those at highest risk for developing and dying of cervical cancer, and yet many-particularly the most marginalized-are less likely than other women to be screened. This review summarizes global findings on innovative approaches to cervical cancer screening for female sex trade workers, highlights current gaps in the delivery of cervical cancer screening for female sex trade workers globally, and suggests areas for future research and policy development. DATA SOURCES: A scoping review of peer-reviewed publications and grey literature was conducted. Medline (OVID), PubMed, EMBASE, and SCOPUS were searched for relevant studies written in English. There were no limitations placed on dates. Grey literature was identified by hand searching and through discussion with health care providers and community outreach workers currently working with sex trade workers. STUDY SELECTION: Twenty-five articles were deemed suitable for review. Articles detailing innovative ways for female sex trade workers to access cervical cancer screening were included. Articles about screening for sexually transmitted infections were also included if the findings could be generalized to screening for cervical cancer. Articles limited to exploring risk factors, knowledge, awareness, education, prevalence, and incidence of cervical cancer among sex trade workers were excluded from the review. DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: Successful screening initiatives identified in the studies reviewed had unconventional hours of operation, understood the difference between street-based and venue-based sex trade workers, and/or used peers for outreach. CONCLUSION: Two significant gaps in health care service delivery were highlighted in this review: the limited use of unorthodox hours and the nearly exclusive practice of providing sexually transmitted infection screening for female sex trade workers without cervical cancer screening. In addition, although street-based (as opposed to venue-based) sex trade workers are likely at higher risk for developing cervical cancer, they are much less likely than other eligible women to participate in screening programs, meaning traditional outreach methods are unlikely to be successful.

publication date

  • March 2014