Understanding barriers to cervical cancer screening among Hispanic women

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Aug;201(2):199.e1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2009.05.014.


Objective: We investigated issues affecting Papanicolaou smear screening access, health services utilization, acculturation, social networking, and media venues most conducive to acquiring health information among Hispanics.

Study design: Self-identified Hispanics were surveyed. Participants were stratified based on age, time living in the United States, and Papanicolaou screening frequency.

Results: Of 318 participants, Hispanics aged 30 years or older and living in the United States less than 5 years prefer speaking Spanish. Women with 5 or more lifetime Papanicolaou smears were 1.610 times more likely to have lived in the United States 5 or more years, 1.706 times more likely to speak a second language, and 1.712 times less likely to need a translator during their health care encounter.

Conclusion: Age and years living in the United States may be independent risk factors for participation in Papanicolaou screening programs. Social difficulties inherent to acculturation inform health behavior and translate to health disparity among Hispanics. Our results may help design federally funded and community-level programs.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health
  • Communication Barriers*
  • Culture
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Healthcare Disparities / statistics & numerical data
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Language
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Papanicolaou Test*
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data*