Objective: Disparities occur in the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer among minority women in the US. Screening lowers cervical cancer incidence. Screening rates are lower for minority women than for White women in the US. This study sought to identify demographic, risk factor, and perception of the role of Pap smears between Latinas and non-Latinas.
Methods: A written survey was administered to 150 Latinas and 150 non-Latinas attending a colposcopy unit. Data on demographics, risk factors, screening rates, knowledge about cervical cancer screening, and perceived barriers to participation in screening programs were collected.
Results: A total of 140 Latinas and 146 non-Latinas completed the survey. Marital status and health insurance status were similar in the two groups. 30% of Latinas and 73.3% of non-Latinas reported completing college (p<0.0001). Only 55.7% of Latinas were employed, compared to 82.2% of non-Latinas (p<0.0001). 21% of Latinas and 53.4% of non-Latinas reported an annual income greater than 35,000 dollars (p<0.0001). Among Latinas, women with 1-5 lifetime Pap smears were less likely to have completed college than those with more than 5 lifetime Pap smears (OR=2.11; 95% CI 1.05-4.22) and to have an annual income of less than 35,000 dollars (OR=3.81; 95% CI 1.64-8.87). Latinas were less likely to have > or =6 lifetime sexual partners, use tobacco, and have a history of sexually transmitted infections. Latinas more commonly reported fear of test results (OR, 0.04; 95% CI 0.02-0.09) and inability to communicate with their provider in Spanish (p<0.0001) as barriers to screening than the non-Latina respondents.
Conclusions: Several of the barriers limiting access to cervical cancer screening programs are also present among screened Latinas undergoing further evaluation for abnormal Pap smears.