Objective To compare women’s experiences of either see and treat (ST) or defer and treat (DT) at first visit to colposcopy following abnormal cytology.
Design A prospective postal questionnaire survey.
Setting Colposcopy clinics of a University Hospital.
Sample A total of 272 women with high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) referred to colposcopy.
Methods A total of 136 women receiving ST and a matched sample of women receiving DT (N= 136) were sent a postal questionnaire 7 days after first appointment at colposcopy to assess evaluations of their experience, psychological distress and relief. Subsequent appointment keeping was extracted from medical records.
Main outcome measures Anxiety and subsequent behaviour.
Results Women undergoing ST were significantly less anxious and more relieved than those undergoing DT. They also evaluated their first appointment as more motivationally congruent. While women undergoing ST were less likely than DTs to keep their second appointment, there was no overall difference in did not attend (DNA) rates at 15-month follow up.
Conclusions ST is psychologically beneficial and may be preferred by women with CIN2/3.