Cancer screening behaviors and attitudes of women in southeastern Minnesota

JAMA. 1995 Apr 12;273(14):1099-105.


Objectives: To determine the rates at which women received screening Papanicolaou tests, clinical breast examinations, and mammography and to determine the extent to which these women might be expected to respond to screening recommendations from their physicians.

Design: Random-digit-dial telephone interviews conducted in January 1993.

Setting: Fifteen counties in southeastern Minnesota.

Subjects: A sample of 1019 women who completed the telephone interview.

Main outcome measures: Self-reported Papanicolaou test, clinical breast examination, and mammography screening rates, with verification from medical records for a randomly selected subsample of 200 respondents who reported having had a test within 1 year of the interview.

Results: For women aged 18 years and older, 60% (95% confidence interval, +/- 3.4%) reported having had a Papanicolaou test within the preceding year. For women 40 years of age and older, 57% (95% confidence interval, +/- 3.5%) reported having had a clinical breast examination in the past year, and 46% (95% confidence interval, +/- 3.6%) reported having had a screening mammogram within 1 year. The verified 1-year Papanicolaou test and mammogram rates were 35% and 33%, respectively. More than 90% of the respondents expressed a willingness to have these tests if their physicians were to advise them that the tests were indicated. However, 53% and 54% of the respondents, respectively, said that they either did not care or did not want their physicians to remind them when they were due for a Papanicolaou test or a mammogram.

Conclusions: Although self-reported screening rates in this population meet Healthy People 2000 goals, verified rates were significantly below target levels. A substantial proportion of women in this population remain ambivalent about participating in cancer detection programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Logistic Models
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mass Screening / psychology
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota / epidemiology
  • Papanicolaou Test*
  • Physical Examination / statistics & numerical data
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data*