Barriers and missed opportunities in breast and cervical cancer screening among women aged 50 and over, New York City, 2002

J Womens Health (Larchmt). Jan-Feb 2007;16(1):46-56. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2006.0079.


Objectives: Breast and cervical cancer screening both are routinely recommended for women. However, data are sparse on factors associated with joint screening behaviors. Our objective to describe the factors associated with receiving both, one, or neither screening test among women aged > or = 50.

Methods: Using data from the New York City Community Health Survey (NYC CHS), we compared the characteristics of women > age 50 (n = 2059) who missed (1) a Pap smear only, (2) mammography only, or (3) both screening procedures with the characteristics of women who received both tests. Analyses were performed using multiple logistic regression.

Results: Seventy-three percent of women had both screening tests, 6.7% needed a Pap smear only, 10% missed mammography only, and 10% missed both tests. After multiple logistic regression, missing a Pap smear only was more likely among women > 70 years compared with younger women and among women from Queens than from Manhattan. Missing mammography only was more common among women not reporting a personal doctor than among those with a doctor and among uninsured women relative to the privately insured. Missing both tests was more common among women > 74 years, current smokers compared with never smokers, women without a personal doctor, and the uninsured. This was less common among women from the Bronx than women from Manhattan and among racial/ethnic minorities compared with non-Hispanic white women.

Conclusions: The predictors of each screening outcome appear to be qualitatively different. Changes in provider practices and targeted education may improve Pap smear screening rates, whereas policy initiatives and increased access for the uninsured may raise mammography rates. To achieve optimal preventive care, coscreening should be considered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Papanicolaou Test*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data*
  • Women's Health
  • Women's Health Services / organization & administration