Breast and cervical cancer screening in Hispanic women: a literature review using the health belief model

Womens Health Issues. May-Jun 2002;12(3):122-8. doi: 10.1016/s1049-3867(02)00132-9.


The aim of this study was to review published studies that examined factors influencing breast and cervical cancer screening behavior in Hispanic women, using the Health Belief Model (HBM). MEDLINE and PsycINFO databases and manual search were used to identify articles. Cancer screening barriers common among Hispanic women include fear of cancer, fatalistic views on cancer, linguistic barriers, and culturally based embarrassment. In addition, Hispanic women commonly feel less susceptible to cancer, which is an important reason for their lack of screening. Positive cues to undergo screening include physician recommendation, community outreach programs with the use of Hispanic lay health leaders, Spanish print material, and use of culturally specific media. Critical review of the literature using the theoretical framework of the Health Belief Model identified several culturally specific factors influencing cancer screening uptake and compliance among Hispanic women. Future interventions need to be culturally sensitive and competent.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion*
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Mammography / psychology
  • Mass Screening / psychology*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Ontario
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Vaginal Smears / psychology
  • Women's Health*