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Eur J Cancer Prev. 2007 Aug;16(4):372-9.

Social disparities in breast and cervical cancer preventive practices.

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Department of Public Health, Balearic Department of Health and Consumer Affairs, Palma de Mallorca, Spain.


Knowledge of factors related to the use of preventive practices is essential in order to build strategies to decrease cancer incidence and mortality. The aim of this study is to describe the characteristics of women who periodically use cervical smear and mammography. This is a cross-sectional study based on the 2001 Balearic Health Survey, using a stratified sample of non-institutionalized population resident in the Balearic Islands. The study included 560 women, aged 20 years or over. The variables studied were age, marital status, social class, education, place of residence and birth, self-perceived health status, satisfaction with health services, job status and type of medical coverage. A multivariate analysis was performed using logistic regression models. Thirty-five per cent had regular mammography (72% between 50 and 64 years) and 54% had cervical smears. The probability of having undergone mammography is higher in women between the ages of 50 and 64 years [odds ratio (OR)=11.74; interval confidence (IC): 5.89-23.39] and in those with additional medical coverage (OR=1.97; IC: 1.19-3.27) and much lower in single women (OR=0.22; IC: 0.10-0.49). The probability of having undergone a Pap test increases according to educational level (OR=2.25; IC: 0.98-5.18 for women in the higher level) and social class (OR=1.98; IC: 0.91-4.28 for social class I) and decreases in women older than 65 years (OR=0.15; IC: 0.07-0.35) and in single women (OR=0.29; IC: 0.16-0.50). Age and marital status are factors related to both practices. Socio-economic status remains associated with cervical smear use, while having an additional medical coverage increases the probability of regular mammography.

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