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Ethn Dis. 2007 Winter;17(1):129-34.

Barriers and facilitators of cervical cancer screening among Hispanic women.

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  • 1Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas Health Sciences Center-Houston, School of Public Health at El Paso, Texas 79902, USA.


Hispanic women are less likely than non-Hispanic white women to utilize Pap test screening. Additionally, Hispanic women have higher rates of cervical cancer than non-Hispanic white women. To better understand the barriers and facilitators for Pap test screening, we conducted 13 focus groups with 84 Hispanic women aged 18-61 years. The moderator guide was developed using the Health Belief Model. These focus groups were part of a larger study aimed at developing intervention materials for women on the US-Mexico border. Most of the women knew about cervical cancer and the Pap test. Perceived benefits of screening were finding cancer early, and feeling good about taking care of one's health. Personal barriers to having the test included embarrassment, fear, and pain. System barriers included physician gender and insensitivity to patient needs. Although the male partner was mentioned as a possible barrier in every group, most women expressed that this was not an issue for them personally. Facilitating factors fell into three categories: information/education, low cost or free tests, and supportive physicians and friends. Results of the focus group study were used in the subsequent development of a survey instrument and an intervention in a larger study.

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