Exploring the barriers to cervical screening in an urban Canadian setting

Cancer Nurs. 1998 Dec;21(6):441-9. doi: 10.1097/00002820-199812000-00008.


Cervical cancer is potentially one of the most preventable cancers. The benefits of cervical screening come to those who are actually screened. Despite the known value of cervical screening, a significant number of women do not avail themselves of the procedure. This study examined the barriers to cervical screening in an urban Canadian setting. Focus group methodology was used to explore the perspectives of socioeconomically disadvantaged women regarding their access to health care. The sessions were tape-recorded, and subsequent content analysis revealed four broad themes: being able to talk with doctors is important; being treated as a person is important; finding answers to many questions about cancer is important; and having a Pap test is uncomfortable. Implications for practice and program design were highlighted.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Canada
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening*
  • Middle Aged
  • Urban Health
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*