Impact of U.S. citizenship status on cancer screening among immigrant women

J Gen Intern Med. 2005 Mar;20(3):290-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.40158.x.


Objectives: We evaluated the relationship between U.S. citizenship status and the receipt of Pap smears and mammograms among immigrant women in California.

Design: Cross-sectional study using data from the 2001 California Health Interview Survey.

Patients/participants: Noninstitutionalized, civilian women, aged 18 years and older living in California.

Measurements and main results: We analyzed data from the 2001 California Health Interview Survey and used logistic regression models to adjust for sociodemographic factors and for access and utilization of health services. After adjusting we found that U.S. citizen immigrants were significantly more likely to report receiving a Pap smear ever (adjusted prevalence ratio [aPR], 1.05; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01 to 1.08), a recent Pap smear (aPR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.11), a mammogram ever (aPR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.12 to 1.21), and a recent mammogram (aPR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.26 to 1.49) as compared to immigrants who are not U.S. citizens. Also associated with receiving cancer screening were income, having a usual source of care, and having health insurance. Hispanic women were more likely to receive Pap smears as compared to whites and Asians.

Conclusions: Not being a U.S. citizen is a barrier to receiving cervical and breast cancer screening. Additional research is needed to explore causal factors for differences in cancer screening rates between citizens and noncitizens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Aged
  • Asian Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Emigration and Immigration / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health
  • Logistic Models
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Papanicolaou Test*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data*