International Journal of Clinical Oncology

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 102–106 | Cite as

Psychological impact of positive cervical cancer screening results among Japanese women

  • Yukari Isaka
  • Haruhiko Inada
  • Yuri Hiranuma
  • Masao Ichikawa
Original Article



While cervical cancer screening is useful for detecting and then treating the disease at an early stage, most women with screen-positive results are free from cervical cancer but nevertheless subject to the unnecessary worry entailed in receiving such results. The purpose of this study was to examine whether receiving a screen-positive result was actually related to psychological distress among Japanese women who underwent cervical cancer screening.


We conducted a questionnaire survey at health facilities in a semiurban city of Ibaraki prefecture, involving 1744 women who underwent cervical cancer screening and 72 who received screen-positive results and then underwent further testing. We used the K6 scale to assess their psychological distress (K6 score ≥5) and performed multiple logistic regression analyses to estimate the relative effect of receiving screen-positive results on psychological distress.


Psychological distress was more prevalent among women with screen-positive results (OR 2.22; 95 % CI 1.32–3.74), while it was also related to history of mental health consultation (OR 2.26; 95 % CI 1.69–3.01) and marital status (OR 1.32; 95 % CI 1.02–1.70).


Receiving a positive cervical cancer screening result was associated with psychological distress. To alleviate this psychological impact, the current form of communicating the screening results should be reconsidered.


Cervical cancer Cervical cancer screening Pap smear Psychological distress Positive screening result Mental health 



We thank all the women who agreed to take part in this study and acknowledge the generous cooperation of the all facilities.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Japan Society of Clinical Oncology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Comprehensive Human SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  3. 3.Total Health Evaluation Center TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  4. 4.International Affairs DivisionMinistry of Health, Labour and WelfareTokyoJapan

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