Loss to follow-up in a cervical cancer screening and treatment program in western Kenya

Document Type



Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)


Background: Increasingly, evidence is emerging from developing countries like Kenya on the burden of loss to follow-up care after a positive cervical cancer screening/diagnosis, which impacts negatively on cervical cancer prevention and control. Unfortunately little or no information exists on the subject in the western region of Kenya. This study is designed to determine the proportion of and predictors and reasons for defaulting from follow-up care after positive cervical cancer screen.

Aim: To determine the rates and factors associated with loss to follow-up in a multivisit cervical cancer screening and treatment program in western Kenya.

Methods: We conducted a prospective study of women, who presented for cervical cancer screening at Chulaimbo and Webuye subcounty hospitals, and screened positive by VIA. A 2-3 weeks appointment was then set for review by a gynae-oncologist. A total of 100 women, scheduled for review, were recruited in the study and followed between August 2016 and May 2017. LTFU was defined as failure to keep a second rescheduled appointment or being unreachable for 3 consecutive months and failure to confirm that a woman sought for care in another health facility. Descriptive statistics was used for summary and the Cox regression model was used to estimate the risk of LTFU for different covariates.

Results: The age range was 21-77 years, with a mean of 44.45 years. 39% of the women defaulted from scheduled follow-up appointment of which 25 (64%) were LTFU. Univariate Cox regression was conducted for HIV cases (HR=2.7, P value=0.021), clinic revisits (HR=2.6, P value=0.026), married (HR=0.63, P value=0.237) and previously screened women (HR=1.67, P value=0.198). Increased risk of LTFU was observed for HIV cases (HR=2.4, P value=0.04) and revisits (HR=7.5, P value=0.014) in an adjusted model.

Conclusion: LTFU affects cervical cancer management due to several factors some of which are beyond the control of the women. We recommend a larger study be replicated for ease of generalizability of results; awareness and strategies are required to retain them to obey the treatment appointment since they are the highly vulnerable.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Global Oncology