Assistant Professor Coauthored Paper in ‘BMC Cancer’

Brandon Brown, an assistant professor in the Center for Healthy Communities in the School of Medicine, is a coauthor on a paper in BMC Cancer that illustrates the difficulty of cervical cancer screening and shows that low-income women in Mexico prefer self-sampled tests (in which vaginal specimens are self-collected) over a cytology test (cell test carried out by healthcare providers) for detecting human papillomavirus (HPV).

“Employing self-collected HPV-testing instead of cytology could resolve some issues within cervical cancer and control programs,” he said.

For the study, the researchers conducted interviews, focus groups, and discussion groups with women from three indigenous ethnic groups in rural Mexico. The women were underserved by healthcare and historically experienced racism and social exclusion.

“We found these women had limited understanding of what role HPV plays in cervical cancer,” Brown said. “They found the self-collected HPV-testing easier, less embarrassing and less painful than cytology. Further, they easily understood how to take a self-sample after a very short explanation, which could provide a good option for cervical screening.”

He was joined in the research by five Mexican scientists from the National Institute of Public Health, the National Center for the Prevention and Control of HIV and AIDS, and a UK-based scientist in the Center for Cancer Prevention.

-Iqbal Pittalwala

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