Medical College of Wisconsin
CTSICores SearchResearch InformaticsREDCap

The impact of body mass index and physical disability on home-based anal self-sampling. Cancer Causes Control 2023 Aug 26



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85169145979 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)


PURPOSE: Self-sampling is increasingly being used in screening programs, yet no studies to date have examined the impact of bodily characteristics on self-sampling experiences. Our objective was to assess whether body mass index (BMI) and physical disability were associated with anal self-sampling difficulty.

METHODS: We recruited sexual minority men (SMM) and trans persons in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to participate in an anal cancer screening study. Between January 2020 and August 2022, 240 participants were randomized to a home (n = 120) or clinic (n = 120) screening arm. Home participants received a mailed at-home anal self-sampling kit and were asked to attend a baseline clinic visit where biometric measurements were collected. Participants were asked to complete a survey about their experience with the kit. This research utilized data from participants who used the at-home kit and completed a baseline clinic visit and post-swab survey (n = 82). We assessed the impact of BMI and physical disability on reported body or swab positioning difficulty.

RESULTS: Most participants reported no or little difficulty with body positioning (90.3%) or swab positioning (82.9%). Higher BMI was significantly associated with greater reported difficulty with body positioning (aOR = 1.10, 95% CI 1.003-1.20, p = 0.04) and swab positioning (aOR = 1.11, 95% CI 1.02-1.20, p = 0.01). Although not significant, participants who said body positioning was difficult had 2.79 higher odds of having a physical disability. Specimen adequacy did not differ by BMI category (p = 0.76) or physical disability (p = 0.88).

CONCLUSION: Anal self-sampling may be a viable option to reach obese persons who may be more likely to avoid screening due to weight-related barriers.

Author List

Nitkowski J, Fernandez ME, Ridolfi T, Chiao E, Giuliano AR, Schick V, Swartz MD, Smith JS, Nyitray AG


Alan Nyitray PhD Associate Professor in the Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Timothy J. Ridolfi MD, MS, FACS Associate Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin