Background: Hispanics have one of the highest incidence rates of cervical cancer. Physician recommendation is one of the most important cues to cancer screening; however, low English proficiency among Hispanics may hinder health providers' recommendation of Pap smears.
Methods: Analysis of data from the 2000 National Health Interview Survey. All Hispanic women, age > or =18, without a Pap smear in the past 3 years or ever and who visited a health care provider in the past year were included. The main outcome was receipt of Pap smear recommendation by a health care provider.
Results: A total of 314 Hispanic women were included in the analysis, 44.9% were highly English proficient. Only 7.7% of low English proficient Hispanics not up-to-date in cancer screening reported a recommendation for a Pap smear as compared to 14.3% of highly proficient Hispanics. After adjusting for sociodemographics and health access and utilization factors, highly English proficient Hispanics were more than two times as likely to report receiving a recommendation for a Pap smear as compared to the less proficient (aOR 2.2, 95% CI 1.1-4.5).
Conclusions: Low English language proficiency is a barrier to receive a recommendation for Pap smear among Hispanic women not up-to-date with cervical cancer screening. Further research is needed to explore specific mechanisms responsible for the low recommendation rates and to assess the impact of interpreters or Spanish-speaking providers on Pap smear recommendation rates.