2021 Women Leading Philanthropy $100,000 Grant Recipient
Dr. Jennifer Brown Broderick’s project HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) Self-Sampling for Primary Cervical Cancer Screening in Underserved Saskatchewan Women
In September 2021, Dr. Jennifer Brown Broderick was the winner of a $100,000 grant from Women Leading Philanthropy to fund her innovative and important HPV self-sampling project. Dr. Broderick, an engineer turned pioneering gynecologic oncologist, has dedicated her professional journey towards the health and well-being of Saskatchewan women. Her project aimed to boost cervical cancer screening among underserved Saskatchewan women.
“If I didn’t receive the WLP grant then I wouldn’t be able to help women detect cervical cancer early – potentially saving their lives. Cervical cancer is one of the only cancers that has a screening test to detect pre-cancer well in advance, before it’s too late. My mission is to get self-sampling tests into the hands of women in Saskatchewan and make sure more lives are saved.”
A Game-Changing Initiative
More than 90% of cervical cancers are caused by the Human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV can be detected by a Pap test, however many women live in remote areas, and getting to a doctor for a Pap test is a barrier to screening.
Dr. Jennifer Brown Broderick and her team came up with a novel project to help break those barriers. Screening for HPV can actually be done by women themselves – without the need to see a doctor for a Pap test. Women can self-test from their own homes using a vaginal swab test kit, and then send the results to a lab for analysis.
Progress – June 2023
Dr Broderick’s team is making great progress. The project is well underway, and aims to be complete by summer 2024.
- Fall 2022: Project was fully approved by ethics.
- December 2022: Two hundred and fifty (250) kits were mailed out, and 250 were handed out.
- Of the 500 swabs, 80 were returned. The response rate of 16% exceeded Manitoba’s 9% response rate.
- The samples were run at the lab in Saskatoon.
- All patients were contacted with both positive (21) and negative results. The HPV positive patients were referred to gynecology if HPV for further testing and
- Two portable colposcopes were purchased to facilitate delivering care in the north where no colposcope is available.
- June 2023: Awaited full sequencing of the HPV positive samples by the NML (National microbiology lab) in Winnipeg to see if certain strains of HPV are more prevalent than others in the Saskatchewan population (compared to published data).
- Prepared for the first publication of phase 1 of the project.
- Launched a second phase of the project and submitted an ethics amendment, which was approved.
- Phase II will offer self-sample swabs online. Patients who meet criteria will be able to request a swab directly through a website (rather than go to a clinic) which can then be mailed to them.
Dr. Broderick and her team aim to have the website up and running by the end of July 2024.
Stay tuned for more updates!