Breast and cervical cancer screening practices among Hispanic women in the United States and Puerto Rico, 1998-1999

Prev Med. 2002 Feb;34(2):242-51. doi: 10.1006/pmed.2001.0984.


Background: Results from recent studies suggest that Hispanic women in the United States may underuse cancer screening tests and face important barriers to screening.

Methods: We examined the breast and cervical cancer screening practices of Hispanic women in 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico from 1998 through 1999 by using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Results: About 68.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 66.3 to 70.1%) of 7,253 women in this sample aged 40 years or older had received a mammogram in the past 2 years. About 81.4% (95% CI = 80.3 to 82.5%) of 12,350 women aged 18 years or older who had not undergone a hysterectomy had received a Papanicolaou test in the past 3 years. Women with lower incomes and those with less education were less likely to be screened. Women who had seen a physician in the past year and those with health insurance coverage were much more likely to have been screened. For example, among those Hispanic women aged 40 years or older who had any health insurance coverage (n = 6,063), 72.7% (95% CI 70.7-74.6%) had had a mammogram in the past 2 years compared with only 54.8% (95% CI 48.7-61.0%) of women without health insurance coverage (n = 1,184).

Conclusions: These results underscore the need for continued efforts to ensure that Hispanic women who are medically underserved have access to cancer screening services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Palpation / statistics & numerical data
  • Papanicolaou Test
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology*
  • Puerto Rico
  • United States
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data