The PODCAT Study: Psychological distress in cervical cancer screening

Cervical Cancer ribbon with hands

Partnering with researchers from the Hanover Medical School, an online patient community group (“F*ck Cancer” by Myriam von M.), and a diagnostics company (oncgnostics GmbH), we designed and conducted a survey combining validated PRO instruments with exploratory questions to assess the psychological burden of positive, especially false-positive Pap smear and HPV screening results in groups of female patients defined by their personal circumstances and the level of understanding of their own test results and their implications, amongst other factors.

In less than 2 months, we collected over 2,300 fully completed surveys from women who had already received test results from at least one abnormal Pap smear. Our findings clearly demonstrated significant unmet needs resulting from the women’s psychological distress regarding their risk of developing cervical cancer, leading to signs of post-traumatic stress disorder in many of these women. Furthermore, unmet needs uncovered in this research also included educational aspects on the implications and interpretation of screening test results.

Besides highlighting unmet medical needs of this female target population in Germany through a publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, the results of our work contributed to demonstrating the cost-benefit of a new diagnostic test, GynTect®, to improve the situation described above, and an optimized Market Access strategy for this product.

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Jentschke, M., Lehmann, R., Drews, N. et al. Psychological distress in cervical cancer screening: results from a German online survey. Arch Gynecol Obstet 302, 699–705 (2020).

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