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Family Practice Collaborators

As a collaborator in the study, you have an essential role in this important BC woman's health initiative. Your collaboration in the study is valuable. The study team wants to ensure you have up to date information about the study at your fingertips throughout the duration of the study.


Women in the study will have cervical samples obtained with Liquid Based Cytology (LBC).

ThinPrep® is an LBC collection method that has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an alternative to the conventional Pap smear since 1996. LBC sampling in the FOCAL Study will be done with the ThinPrep® broom-like collection method. Please follow the special instructions that should be followed for successful specimen collection with this device.

Study supplies will be provided to you by the study centre. The LBC collection kits can only be used on study participants. HPV testing cannot be performed on the conventional Pap smear, therefore it is important that only LBC kits are utilized. Please note that the LBC kit can test for both HPV and cytology so a traditional Pap smear is not required when the LBC kit is used.

The HPV FOCAL Study Gynecological Requisition form is required for study samples. As per BC Cervical Cancer Screening Program guidelines, all cervical samples are to be labelled with the patient's last name AND date of birth, or they will be rejected at the laboratory.

Cervical sample results will be sent to your offices as soon as they are available. For information on Bethesda terminology, please see Appendix I of "Screening for Cancer of the Cervix: An Office Manual for Health Professionals".


February 2017

The HPV FOCAL Study is no longer managing the screening schedule for any FOCAL Study participants. There are a number of women who did NOT attend their final screen visits. We encourage you to contact these women to return for a cervical screen (and collect with a conventional Pap smear) if they have not already done so.

For any women who have completed the study, the recommendation for future screening and/or management was included on the last set of screen results.

If you have any questions about when your patients should attend for their next cervical screen or other follow-up, please contact the Cervical Cancer Screening Program at: 1-877-747-2522.

If you have any remaining collection kits left in your office, please return them to us.

July 2016

British Columbia has updated its Cervical Cancer Screening policy. The following changes will be in effect:

  • Increasing BC's cervical cancer screening start age to 25 years
  • Increasing the routine screening interval to 3 years
  • Decreasing the length of conservative management of low grade abnormalities through repeat cytology testing to 12 months

 Read more here.

July 2015

You may find it hard to believe that the first FOCAL participant was enrolled in January 2008. It took several years for all 25,000 women to be consented but we are happy to report that there are now less than 5,000 women who remain active in the study! We anticipate wrapping up trial activities by the end of December 2016. Until then, we appreciate your dedication and commitment.

Since the trial began in 2008, cervical cancer screening has seen significant changes in Canada and globally. Although not yet implemented, Cancer Care Ontario has recommended primary HPV testing for women over 30 - the first province to officially recommend HPV primary testing. In 2016, the Netherlands will implement primary HPV testing every 5 years for women starting age 30, and Australia will also be conducting primary HPV testing, commencing at age 25.

We anticipate the findings from FOCAL will contribute to the future of cervical cancer screening not only in BC but elsewhere in Canada and around the world! We look forward to sharing results with you as they become available.



There is a great deal of information available to the Health Care Professionals on Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Please visit the following websites for information that will be valuable when dealing with a patient with an HPV positive result:

The Society of Obststetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) have developed an HPV informational website for both healthcare professionals and patients:

The BC Cancer Cervical Cancer Screening Program also has information and publications on HPV:

BC Centre for Disease Control:

Canadian Cancer Society:

Government of Canada:

National Institutes of Health:

Centres for Disease Control Atlanta:

HPV immunization

For information on HPV immunization in Canada, the link below will direct you to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) website with information on HPV vaccines in Canada:

Also from PHAC, a summary and Q& A on HPV prevention and vaccines:

For your patients who would like more information on HPV vaccination in BC, the following websites may be useful:

BC is now immunizing vulnerable boys and young men to the age of 26 at no charge!

For general information on HPV, please see:

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