Exploring older women's approaches to cervical cancer screening

Health Care Women Int. 2007 Nov-Dec;28(10):930-50. doi: 10.1080/07399330701615358.


The purpose of this qualitative study (N = 98, 11 focus groups) is to investigate how low-income, African American and Hispanic older women make decisions about cervical cancer screening. Using the health belief model to guide content analysis of transcripts, we found that primary barriers to screening were; embarrassment with, fear of, and pain from the test, difficulty in accessing screening, stigma associated with Medicaid coverage, and prior negative experiences with cancer detection. Women experienced cues to screening from their own bodies, in symptoms, and relied on spiritual beliefs to support them in coping with their health problems. Enhanced understanding of these factors could increase uptake of cervical cancer screening among the unscreened and underscreened.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Age Factors
  • Aged / psychology
  • Black or African American / education
  • Black or African American / ethnology*
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Hispanic or Latino / education
  • Hispanic or Latino / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / adverse effects
  • Mass Screening / psychology*
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Shame
  • Spirituality
  • Stereotyping
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Vaginal Smears / adverse effects
  • Vaginal Smears / psychology
  • Women / education
  • Women / psychology*