Socioeconomic influences on Vietnamese-Canadian women's breast and cervical cancer prevention practices: a social determinant's perspective

Soc Work Public Health. Sep-Oct 2009;24(5):454-76. doi: 10.1080/19371910802678772.


Breast cancer and cervical cancer are major contributors to morbidity and mortality for the Vietnamese Canadian women. Vietnamese women face multiple barriers to obtaining effective preventive care and treatment for these diseases. This paper reports the influence of socioeconomic factors on Vietnamese Canadian women's breast and cervical cancer screening behaviors. In-depth semistructured interviews were conducted with Vietnamese Canadian women and health care providers. The study revealed that low socioeconomic status is a major barrier to women's participation in breast and cervical cancer screening, despite the fact that health care in Canada is funded publicly by the Medicare system. The Vietnamese Canadian women and health care providers in the present study identified a number of major dimensions through which socioeconomic issues were associated with Vietnamese Canadian women's access to and use of health care for the prevention of breast and cervical cancer, including (a) financial concerns; (b) language, occupational opportunities, and downward mobility; (c) economics and women's households; and (d) low socioeconomic status and screening behaviors. Implications are discussed for increasing Vietnamese Canadian women's utilization of breast and cervical cancer screening services.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Canada
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Class*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Vietnam / ethnology