Decision-making, barriers, and facilitators regarding cervical cancer screening participation among Turkish and Moroccan women in the Netherlands: a focus group study

Ethn Health. 2022 Jul;27(5):1147-1165. doi: 10.1080/13557858.2020.1863921. Epub 2021 Jan 7.


OBJECTIVES: Whether the lower Dutch cervical cancer (CC) screening participation of Turkish- and Moroccan-Dutch women is based on informed decision-making is unknown. Our aim was to explore how and why Turkish- and Moroccan-Dutch women decide to participate or not in the current Dutch CC screening programme as well as to learn their perceptions on self-sampling.DESIGN: Six focus group discussions were conducted between March and April 2019 with Turkish (n = 24) and Moroccan (n = 20) women in the Netherlands, aged 30-60 years. Questions were based on an extended version of the Health Belief Model. Discussions were transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed.RESULTS: Participants lacked knowledge about CC and its screening, and seemed to be unaware of the cons of CC screening. Perceived barriers for screening were lack of a good command of the Dutch language, having a male general practitioner, fatalism, shame and taboo, and associations of CC with lack of femininity and infertility. Other barriers were fear of the test result, cancer, suffering, death, and leaving their children behind after death. Perceived facilitators were a high perceived severity of disease, social support, and short procedure time. An additional religious facilitator included the responsibility to take care of one's own health using medical options that God provided. Participants had low self-efficacy expectations towards performing correct self-sampling.CONCLUSIONS: Although participants' informed-decision making seems to be limited, this study showed that women do not only consider factual medical information, but also practical, emotional, cultural, and religious aspects prior to deciding to screen or not. Information materials should be tailored to these aspects, as well as translated to appropriate languages due to lack of a good command of the Dutch language. Self-efficacy expectations towards performing correct self-sampling should be enhanced to promote informed CC screening participation among Turkish- and Moroccan-Dutch women.

Keywords: Moroccan; Netherlands; Turkish; barriers; cervical cancer; decision-making; facilitators; focus groups; participation; screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Morocco
  • Netherlands
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms* / prevention & control