Introduction: Cancer screening rates among Latinas are suboptimal. The objective of this study was to explore how Latinas perceive cancer screening and the use and design of interactive voice response (IVR) messages to prompt scheduling of 1 or more needed screenings.
Methods: Seven focus groups were conducted with Latina community health center patients (n = 40) in need of 1 or more cancer screenings: 5 groups were of women in need of 1 cancer screening (breast, cervical, or colorectal), and 2 groups were of women in need of multiple screenings. A bilingual researcher conducted all focus groups in Spanish using a semistructured guide. Focus groups were recorded, transcribed, and translated into English for analysis. Emergent themes were identified by using thematic content analysis.
Results: Participants were familiar with cancer screening and viewed it positively, although barriers to screening were identified (unaware overdue for screening, lack of physician referral, lack of insurance or insufficient insurance coverage, embarrassment or fear of screening procedures, fear of screening outcomes). Women needing multiple screenings voiced more concern about screening procedures, whereas women in need of a single screening expressed greater worry about the screening outcome. Participants were receptive to receiving IVR messages and believed that culturally appropriate messages that specified needed screenings while emphasizing the benefit of preventive screening would motivate them to schedule needed screenings.
Conclusion: Participants' receptiveness to IVR messages suggests that these messages may be an acceptable strategy to promote cancer screening among underserved Latina patients. Additional research is needed to determine the effectiveness of IVR messages in promoting completion of cancer screening.