Determinants of breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening adherence in Mexican-American women

J Community Health. 2012 Apr;37(2):421-33. doi: 10.1007/s10900-011-9459-2.


Despite the effectiveness of cancer screening procedures, its utilization among Latinas remains low. Guided, in part, by the Behavioral Model for Vulnerable Populations, this study examined the associations between predisposing, enabling, and need factors with self-reported breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening adherence. Participants were 319 Mexican-American women, from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds, living near the United States-Mexico border. Women were adherent with breast cancer (BC) screening (≥42 years) if they had received at least one mammogram within the last 2 years, with cervical cancer (CC) screening (≥40 years) if they had received at least one Pap exam in the last 3 years, and with colorectal cancer (CRC) screening (≥52 years) if they had undergone one or more of the following: Fecal Occult Blood Test within the last year, or sigmoidoscopy in the last 5 years, or colonoscopy within the last 10 years. BC and CC screenings were higher in the current sample compared to national and state figures: 82% with mammography and 86% adherent with Pap exam screening. However, only 43% were adherent with CRC screening recommendations. Characteristics associated with mammography adherence included CC adherence and usual source of care. BC adherence was associated to CC adherence. Characteristics associated with CRC adherence included BC adherence, being premenopausal, and insurance coverage. A key correlate of cancer screening adherence was adherence to other preventive services. Results underscore the need for continued efforts to ensure that Latinas of all SES levels obtain regular and timely cancer screenings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Colonoscopy / statistics & numerical data
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Early Detection of Cancer / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data
  • Mexican Americans / psychology*
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Occult Blood*
  • Patient Compliance / ethnology*
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Sigmoidoscopy / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data