Pap smear use in California: are we closing the racial/ethnic gap?

Prev Med. 2005 Jun;40(6):747-55. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.09.018.


Background: Minority women continue to be disproportionately affected by cervical cancer. Minority population groups at high risk for cervical cancer may be failing to fully comply with screening recommendations. The use of Pap smears among women in California was evaluated to identify ethnic groups at higher risk for noncompliance with cervical cancer screening.

Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of 2001 California Health Interview Survey data. Logistic regression was used to assess the independent contribution of race/ethnicity to the use of Pap smears.

Results: Hispanic (aPR = 1.03, 95% CI 1.02-1.05) and Black (aPR = 1.03, 95% CI 1.001-1.06) women are more likely to report a Pap smear in the past 3 years as compared to White women. Asians were the least likely to report cervical cancer screening despite a more favorable sociodemographic profile. Screening rates varied among Hispanic or Asian subgroups; Mexicans, Vietnamese, Chinese, and South Asians are particularly underserved.

Conclusions: In contrast to the country as a whole, Hispanic women in California are more likely to report a recent Pap smear as compared to White women. However, racial/ethnic disparities in Pap smear use persist; Asian women are the least likely to report cervical cancer screening as compared to any other group.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asian Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Odds Ratio
  • Papanicolaou Test*
  • Probability
  • Risk Assessment
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data*
  • Whites / statistics & numerical data