Background: Use of the Pap test has resulted in a decline in cervical cancer mortality in developed countries. Yet, despite established cervical cancer screening programs, a significant portion of Jamaican women are not undergoing screening for cervical cancer. This study was carried out to identify factors that affect Jamaican women's decisions to screen for cervical cancer.
Methods: A population survey was administered to 367 clinic-attending women 25 to 54 years of age in the Parish of Trelawny from May to July of 2005. An interviewer-administered questionnaire assessed the women's knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding cervical cancer and cervical cancer screening.
Results: Overall, 11% of the women had never had a Pap smear and only 38% had a Pap test within the last year. Annual visits to a health provider have a strong influence on women's decisions to regularly screen for cervical cancer. Provider recommendation also positively affected initial receipt of a Pap smear as well as continued regular screening.
Conclusions: Programs that promote annual health checkups, encourage consistent provider recommendations, and emphasize screening as a preventive measure might positively influence women's decisions to screen for cervical cancer.