Limited English proficiency and breast and cervical cancer screening in a multiethnic population

Am J Public Health. 2005 Aug;95(8):1410-6. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2004.041418.

Abstract

Objectives: We examined the relationship between ability to speak English and receipt of Papanicolaou tests, clinical breast examinations, and mammography in a multiethnic group of women in the United States.

Methods: We used longitudinal data from the Study of Women Across the Nation to examine receipt of breast and cervical cancer screening among Chinese, Japanese, Hispanic, and White women who reported reading and speaking (1) only a language other than English, (2) another language more fluently than English, or (3) only English or another language and English with equal fluency. Logistic regression was used to analyze the data.

Results: Reading and speaking only a language other than English and reading and speaking another language more fluently than English, were significantly and negatively associated with receipt of breast and cervical cancer screening in unadjusted models. Although these findings were attenuated in adjusted models, not speaking English well or at all remained negatively associated with receipt of cancer screening.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that language barriers contribute to health disparities by impeding adequate health communication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Asian Americans*
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • California
  • Communication Barriers
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans*
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multilingualism*
  • New Jersey
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*