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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 Aug;17(8):1968-73. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-08-0078.

Disparities in cervical cancer screening between Asian American and Non-Hispanic white women.

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Department of Oncology, Georgetown University School of Medicine, and Cancer Control Program, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20007, USA.



Asian American women have higher cervical cancer mortality rates than non-Hispanic White women, yet have lower Pap screening rates than their White counterparts. This study examined whether ethnic differences in the use of Pap screening were associated with differences in cultural views, controlling for demographic and access factors.


Cross-sectional survey data from the Commonwealth 2001 Health Care Quality Survey were used. Non-Hispanic White (n = 2,146) and Asian American women (including Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Filipino, and Japanese; n = 259) were included in this study. Eastern cultural views were measured by beliefs in the role of self-care and luck. Access factors (having health insurance, regular providers, and communication with providers) and demographics of patients and providers were measured. The outcome was receipt of a Pap test in the past 2 years.


Asian American women had a lower rate of obtaining a recent Pap test (70%) than non-Hispanic White women (81%; P = 0.001). More Asians believed in the role of luck and self-care and experienced access barriers than Whites (P < 0.0001). Women with less Eastern cultural views are more likely to be recently screened than women with more (odds ratio, 1.08; 95% confidence interval, 1.00-1.16; P < 0.05). All access factors and provider gender types predicted the outcome. Within the Asian subgroups, Vietnamese women had lower screening rates (55%) and greater Eastern cultural views than their Asian counterparts.


More research is needed to understand cultural and other barriers to Pap screening in high-risk Asian women, and attention should be paid to within-group differences.

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