Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Public Health. 2005 Oct;95(10):1781-7.

Cancer screening among jail inmates: frequency, knowledge, and willingness.

Author information

Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Box 357183, Seattle, WA 98195-7183, USA.



We determined jail inmates' knowledge of cancer screening tests, their frequency of screening, and their willingness to undergo screening in jail in order to assess preventive health services for jail inmates.


We performed a cross-sectional interview survey of random samples of county jail inmates (n=133).


Approximately half (53%) the participants were African American, 17% were White, 11% were Latino, and 9% reported multiple ethnicities. Among women aged 18 years and older, 90% had had a Papanicolaou (Pap) test within 3 years, and 94% were willing to be screened in jail. Having ever had a Pap test while incarcerated was significantly associated with being up to date on cervical cancer screening. For women aged 40 years and older, 41% reported having had a mammogram within 2 years, and 88% were willing to have one. Among men (n=51) and women (n=4) aged 50 years and older, 25% had knowledge of colon cancer screening, 31% were up to date, and 69% were willing to be screened. Increased knowledge about colon cancer screening was significantly associated with being White and having insurance. Jail inmates, particularly African Americans, had significantly lower frequency of sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy than the general population.


Jail could be an appropriate venue in which to provide cancer screening for a high-risk population. Inmates were receptive to jail-based screening.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center