What is self-collect screening?

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[.highlighted] Q: Dear Teal, [.highlighted] You mention “self-collect screening” a lot and I’m not quite sure what it means. Can you explain?

A: Great question! “Self-collect” refers to the ability to collect one’s own sample to be analyzed for certain diseases and infections. To put that into context for cervical cancer screening, consider the current process. In the US today, getting screened for cervical cancer includes going to your medical provider for a pelvic exam. You first undress, put a robe on, and lay with your feet in stirrups. Your provider then accesses your cervix by using a speculum to hold the vaginal walls open. Next, they insert a brush and collect a sample from your cervix. With self-collection, the most uncomfortable aspects of the test — going to a doctor’s office and use of the speculum — are no longer needed. Read more about the ways self-collect is already used both in the US and globally here.

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Liz Swenson, MD
Medical Director

Liz Swenson is a board-certified OB/GYN who has been providing care to women for more than 20 years. She has learned that women are genuinely interested in their own health and want to understand the science behind their medical conditions. Originally from Iowa, she completed her medical training in Northern California where she still lives with her husband and two daughters. She has worked in a busy multispecialty practice in Palo Alto and has taught OBGYN residents as an Adjunct Clinical Faculty Member of Stanford University. Now, with a focus on helping all women have choices and access to the gynecological care they need, she is excited to use her clinical experience to help improve the lives and longevity of all Teal patients.