Introduction: This study examines factors associated with timely follow-up after Pap test in a program providing cervical cancer detection services to medically underserved California women.
Methods: Data between 01 January 1992 and 30 June 2007 were analyzed. Cox proportional hazard regression was used to identify subgroups of women with delayed time to diagnosis or treatment scheduling. The probability of being scheduled for final diagnosis and treatment was assessed using logistic regression analysis. Demographic and clinical characteristics of the women lost to follow up were examined.
Results: Time from screening to final diagnosis scheduling differed according to age group, race/ethnicity, and Pap test result. Race/ethnicity and age were associated with whether treatment was scheduled or not. While loss to follow up among those scheduled for final diagnosis was associated with certain patients' characteristics, no such association was found among those who were scheduled for treatment.
Conclusions: Patient's demographic characteristics determine the odds of being scheduled for final diagnosis and treatment as well as timeliness of follow-up from screening to final diagnosis. Findings suggest that the dual goal of reducing health disparities and cost-effective detection and treatment of precancerous disease to prevent cervical cancers cannot be achieved without consideration of racial/ethnic differences and needs.