Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (1276114)

Clipboard (0)

Related Articles

1.  A systematic review of interventions to increase breast and cervical cancer screening uptake among Asian women 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:413.
The Asian population is one of the fastest growing ethnic minority groups in western countries. However, cancer screening uptake is consistently lower in this group than in the native-born populations. As a first step towards developing an effective cancer screening intervention program targeting Asian women, we conducted a comprehensive systematic review, without geographic, language or date limitations, to update current knowledge on the effectiveness of existing intervention strategies to enhance breast and cervical screening uptake in Asian women.
This study systematically reviewed studies published as of January 2010 to synthesize knowledge about effectiveness of cancer screening interventions targeting Asian women. Fifteen multidisciplinary peer-reviewed and grey literature databases were searched to identify relevant studies.
The results of our systematic review were reported in accordance with the PRISMA Statement. Of 37 selected intervention studies, only 18 studies included valid outcome measures (i.e. self-reported or recorded receipt of mammograms or Pap smear). 11 of the 18 intervention studies with valid outcome measures used multiple intervention strategies to target individuals in a specific Asian ethnic group. This observed pattern of intervention design supports the hypothesis that employing a combination of multiple strategies is more likely to be successful than single interventions. The effectiveness of community-based or workplace-based group education programs increases when additional supports, such as assistance in scheduling/attending screening and mobile screening services are provided. Combining cultural awareness training for health care professionals with outreach workers who can help healthcare professionals overcome language and cultural barriers is likely to improve cancer screening uptake. Media campaigns and mailed culturally sensitive print materials alone may be ineffective in increasing screening uptake. Intervention effectiveness appears to vary with ethnic population, methods of program delivery, and study setting.
Despite some limitations, our review has demonstrated that the effectiveness of existing interventions to promote breast and cervical cancer screening uptake in Asian women may hinge on a variety of factors, such as type of intervention and study population characteristics. While some studies demonstrated the effectiveness of certain intervention programs, the cost effectiveness and long-term sustainability of these programs remain questionable. When adopting an intervention program, it is important to consider the impacts of social-and cultural factors specific to the Asian population on cancer screening uptake. Future research is needed to develop new interventions and tools, and adopt vigorous study design and evaluation methodologies to increase cancer screening among Asian women to promote population health and health equity.
PMCID: PMC3488494  PMID: 22676147
2.  Evidence-Based Intervention to Reduce Access Barriers to Cervical Cancer Screening Among Underserved Chinese American Women 
Journal of Women's Health  2010;19(3):463-469.
The primary objective of the present study was to evaluate the effects of a community-based pilot intervention that combined cervical cancer education with patient navigation on cervical cancer screening behaviors among Chinese American women residing in New York City.
Chinese women (n = 134) who had not had a Pap test within the previous 12 months were recruited from four Asian community-based organizations (CBOs). Women from two of the CBOs received the intervention (n = 80) consisting of education, interaction with a Chinese physician, and navigation assistance, including help in identifying and accessing free or low-cost screening services. The control group (n = 54) received education delivered by Chinese community health educators and written materials on general health and cancer screening, including cervical cancer, the Pap test, and information about sites that provided free screening. Study assessments were obtained in-person at baseline and postintervention. Screening behavior was self-reported at 12-month postintervention and verified by medical staff.
In the 12-month interval following the program, screening rates were significantly higher in the intervention group (70%) compared to the control group (11.1%). Hierarchical logistic regression analyses indicated that screening behavior was associated with older age (OR = 1.08, 95% CI = 1.01–1.15, p < .05). In addition, women with poorer English language fluency (OR = 0.30, 95% CI = 0.10–0.89, p < .05) and who did not have health insurance were less likely to obtain screening (OR = 0.15, 95% CI = 0.02–0.96, p < .05). Among health beliefs, greater perceived severity of disease was positively associated with screening behavior (OR = 4.26, 95% CI = 1.01-18.04, p < .05).
Community-based programs that provide combined education and patient navigation may be effective in overcoming the extensive linguistic and access barriers to screening faced by Chinese American women.
PMCID: PMC2867551  PMID: 20156089
3.  The Promise of Prevention: The Effects of Four Preventable Risk Factors on National Life Expectancy and Life Expectancy Disparities by Race and County in the United States 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(3):e1000248.
Majid Ezzati and colleagues examine the contribution of a set of risk factors (smoking, high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose, and adiposity) to socioeconomic disparities in life expectancy in the US population.
There has been substantial research on psychosocial and health care determinants of health disparities in the United States (US) but less on the role of modifiable risk factors. We estimated the effects of smoking, high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose, and adiposity on national life expectancy and on disparities in life expectancy and disease-specific mortality among eight subgroups of the US population (the “Eight Americas”) defined on the basis of race and the location and socioeconomic characteristics of county of residence, in 2005.
Methods and Findings
We combined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to estimate unbiased risk factor levels for the Eight Americas. We used data from the National Center for Health Statistics to estimate age–sex–disease-specific number of deaths in 2005. We used systematic reviews and meta-analyses of epidemiologic studies to obtain risk factor effect sizes for disease-specific mortality. We used epidemiologic methods for multiple risk factors to estimate the effects of current exposure to these risk factors on death rates, and life table methods to estimate effects on life expectancy. Asians had the lowest mean body mass index, fasting plasma glucose, and smoking; whites had the lowest systolic blood pressure (SBP). SBP was highest in blacks, especially in the rural South—5–7 mmHg higher than whites. The other three risk factors were highest in Western Native Americans, Southern low-income rural blacks, and/or low-income whites in Appalachia and the Mississippi Valley. Nationally, these four risk factors reduced life expectancy at birth in 2005 by an estimated 4.9 y in men and 4.1 y in women. Life expectancy effects were smallest in Asians (M, 4.1 y; F, 3.6 y) and largest in Southern rural blacks (M, 6.7 y; F, 5.7 y). Standard deviation of life expectancies in the Eight Americas would decline by 0.50 y (18%) in men and 0.45 y (21%) in women if these risks had been reduced to optimal levels. Disparities in the probabilities of dying from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes at different ages would decline by 69%–80%; the corresponding reduction for probabilities of dying from cancers would be 29%–50%. Individually, smoking and high blood pressure had the largest effect on life expectancy disparities.
Disparities in smoking, blood pressure, blood glucose, and adiposity explain a significant proportion of disparities in mortality from cardiovascular diseases and cancers, and some of the life expectancy disparities in the US.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Life expectancy (a measure of longevity and premature death) and overall health have increased steadily in the United States over recent years. New drugs, new medical technologies, and better disease prevention have all helped Americans to lead longer, healthier lives. However, even now, some Americans live much longer and much healthier lives than others. Health disparities—differences in how often certain diseases occur and cause death in groups of people classified according to their ethnicity, geographical location, sex, or age—are extremely large and persistent in the US. On average, black men and women in the US live 6.3 and 4.5 years less, respectively, than their white counterparts; the gap between life expectancy in the US counties with the lowest and highest life expectancies is 18.4 years for men and 14.3 years for women. Disparities in deaths (mortality) from chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases (for example, heart attacks and stroke), cancers, and diabetes are known to be the main determinants of these life expectancy disparities.
Why Was This Study Done?
Preventable risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, excessive body fat (adiposity), and high blood sugar are responsible for many thousands of deaths from chronic diseases. Exposure to these risk factors varies widely by race, state of residence, and socioeconomic status. However, the effects of these observed disparities in exposure to modifiable risk factors on US life expectancy disparities have only been examined in selected groups of people and it is not known how multiple modifiable risk factors affect US health disparities. A better knowledge about how disparities in risk factor exposure contribute to health disparities is needed to ensure that prevention programs not only improve the average health status but also reduce health disparities. In this study, the researchers estimate the effects of smoking, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and adiposity on US life expectancy and on disparities in life expectancy and disease-specific deaths among the “Eight Americas,” population groups defined by race and by the location and socioeconomic characteristics of their county of residence.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers extracted data on exposure to these risk factors from US national health surveys, information on deaths from different diseases in 2005 from the US National Center for Health Statistics, and estimates of how much each risk factor increases the risk of death from each disease from published studies. They then used modeling methods to estimate the effects of risk factor exposure on death rates and life expectancy. The Asian subgroup had the lowest adiposity, blood sugar, and smoking rates, they report, and the three white subgroups had the lowest blood pressure. Blood pressure was highest in the three black subgroups, whereas the other three risk factors were highest in Western Native Americans, Southern rural blacks, and whites living in Appalachia and the Mississippi Valley. The effects on life expectancy of these factors were smallest in Asians and largest in Southern rural blacks but, overall, these risk factors reduced the life expectancy for men and women born in 2005 by 4.9 and 4.1 years, respectively. Other calculations indicate that if these four risk factors were reduced to optimal levels, disparities among the subgroups in deaths from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes and from cancers would be reduced by up to 80% and 50%, respectively.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that disparities in smoking, blood pressure, blood sugar, and adiposity among US racial and geographical subgroups explain a substantial proportion of the disparities in deaths from cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancers among these subgroups. The disparities in risk factor exposure also explain some of the disparities in life expectancy. The remaining disparities in deaths and life expectancy could be the result of preventable risk factors not included in this study—one of its limitations is that it does not consider the effect of dietary fat, alcohol use, and dietary salt, which are major contributors to different diseases. Thus, suggest the researchers, reduced exposure to preventable risk factors through the implementation of relevant policies and programs should reduce life expectancy and mortality disparities in the US and yield health benefits at a national scale.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Office of Minority Health, and the US National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities all provide information on health disparities in the US
MedlinePlus provides links to information on health disparities and on healthy living (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on all aspects of healthy living
The American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society provide information on modifiable risk factors for patients and caregivers
Healthy People 2010 is a national framework designed to improve the health of people living in the US
The US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) collect information on risk factor exposures in the US
PMCID: PMC2843596  PMID: 20351772
Ethnicity & health  2009;14(6):575-589.
Recent US data indicate that women of Vietnamese descent have higher cervical cancer incidence rates than women of any other race/ethnicity, and lower levels of Pap testing than white, black, and Latina women. Our objective was to provide information about Pap testing barriers and facilitators that could be used to develop cervical cancer control intervention programs for Vietnamese American women.
We conducted a cross-sectional, community-based survey of Vietnamese immigrants. Our study was conducted in metropolitan Seattle, Washington. A total of 1,532 Vietnamese American women participated in the study. Demographic, health care, and knowledge/belief items associated with previous cervical cancer screening participation (ever screened and screened according to interval screening guidelines) were examined.
Eighty-one percent of the respondents had been screened for cervical cancer in the previous three years. Recent Pap testing was strongly associated (p<0.001) with having a regular doctor, having a physical in the last year, previous physician recommendation for testing, and having asked a physician for testing. Women whose regular doctor was a Vietnamese man were no more likely to have received a recent Pap smear than those with no regular doctor.
Our findings indicate that cervical cancer screening disparities between Vietnamese and other racial/ethnic groups are decreasing. Efforts to further increase Pap smear receipt in Vietnamese American communities should enable women without a source of health care to find a regular provider. Additionally, intervention programs should improve patient-provider communication by encouraging health care providers (especially male Vietnamese physicians serving women living in ethnic enclaves) to recommend Pap testing, as well as by empowering Vietnamese women to specifically ask their physicians for Pap testing.
PMCID: PMC2788032  PMID: 19626504
Cervical cancer; Immigrants; Pap testing; Vietnamese
5.  Heterogeneity within the Asian American community 
Educational interventions are grounded on scientific data and assumptions about the community to be served. While the Pan Asian community is composed of multiple, ethnic subgroups, it is often treated as a single group for which one health promotion program will be applicable for all of its cultural subgroups. Compounding this stereotypical view of the Pan Asian community, there is sparse data about the cultural subgroups' similarities and dissimilarities. The Asian Grocery Store based cancer education program evaluation data provided an opportunity to compare data collected under identical circumstances from members of six Asian American cultural groups.
A convenience sample of 1,202 Asian American women evaluated the cultural alignment of a cancer education program, completing baseline and follow-up surveys that included questions about their breast cancer knowledge, attitudes, and screening behaviors. Participants took part in a brief education program that facilitated adherence to recommended screening guidelines.
Unique recruitment methods were needed to attract participants from each ethnic group. Impressions gained from the aggregate data revealed different insights than the disaggregate data. Statistically significant variations existed among the subgroups' breast cancer knowledge, attitudes, and screening behaviors that could contribute to health disparities among the subgroups and within the aggregate Pan Asian community.
Health promotion efforts of providers, educators, and policy makers can be enhanced if cultural differences are identified and taken into account when developing strategies to reduce health disparities and promote health equity.
PMCID: PMC328089  PMID: 14697098
Asian American; Breast Cancer; Cancer Education; Early Detection; Mammography
6.  Disparities in mammographic screening for Asian women in California: a cross-sectional analysis to identify meaningful groups for targeted intervention 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:201.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among the rapidly growing population of Asian Americans; it is also the most common cause of cancer mortality among Filipinas. Asian women continue to have lower rates of mammographic screening than women of most other racial/ethnic groups. While prior studies have described the effects of sociodemographic and other characteristics of women on non-adherence to screening guidelines, they have not identified the distinct segments of the population who remain at highest risk of not being screened.
To better describe characteristics of Asian women associated with not having a mammogram in the last two years, we applied recursive partitioning to population-based data (N = 1521) from the 2001 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), for seven racial/ethnic groups of interest: Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, South Asian, Vietnamese, and all Asians combined.
We identified two major subgroups of Asian women who reported not having a mammogram in the past two years and therefore, did not follow mammography screening recommendations: 1) women who have never had a pap exam to screen for cervical cancer (68% had no mammogram), and 2) women who have had a pap exam, but have no women's health issues (osteoporosis, using menopausal hormone therapies, and/or hysterectomy) nor a usual source of care (62% had no mammogram). Only 19% of Asian women who have had pap screening and have women's health issues did not have a mammogram in the past two years. In virtually all ethnic subgroups, having had pap or colorectal screening were the strongest delineators of mammography usage. Other characteristics of women least likely to have had a mammogram included: Chinese non-U.S. citizens or citizens without usual source of health care, Filipinas with no health insurance, Koreans without women's health issues and public or no health insurance, South Asians less than age 50 who were unemployed or non-citizens, and Vietnamese women who were never married.
We identified distinct subgroups of Asian women at highest risk of not adhering to mammography screening guidelines; these data can inform outreach efforts aimed at reducing the disparity in mammography screening among Asian women.
PMCID: PMC2198916  PMID: 17961259
7.  Engaging diverse underserved communities to bridge the mammography divide 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:47.
Breast cancer screening continues to be underutilized by the population in general, but is particularly underutilized by traditionally underserved minority populations. Two of the most at risk female minority groups are American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) and Latinas. American Indian women have the poorest recorded 5-year cancer survival rates of any ethnic group while breast cancer is the number one cause of cancer mortality among Latina women. Breast cancer screening rates for both minority groups are near or at the lowest among all racial/ethnic groups. As with other health screening behaviors, women may intend to get a mammogram but their intentions may not result in initiation or follow through of the examination process. An accumulating body of research, however, demonstrates the efficacy of developing 'implementation intentions' that define when, where, and how a specific behavior will be performed. The formulation of intended steps in addition to addressing potential barriers to test completion can increase a person's self-efficacy, operationalize and strengthen their intention to act, and close gaps between behavioral intention and completion. To date, an evaluation of the formulation of implementation intentions for breast cancer screening has not been conducted with minority populations.
In the proposed program, community health workers will meet with rural-dwelling Latina and American Indian women one-on-one to educate them about breast cancer and screening and guide them through a computerized and culturally tailored "implementation intentions" program, called Healthy Living Kansas - Breast Health, to promote breast cancer screening utilization. We will target Latina and AI/AN women from two distinct rural Kansas communities. Women attending community events will be invited by CHWs to participate and be randomized to either a mammography "implementation intentions" (MI2) intervention or a comparison general breast cancer prevention informational intervention (C). CHWs will be armed with notebook computers loaded with our Healthy Living Kansas - Breast Health program and guide their peers through the program. Women in the MI2 condition will receive assistance with operationalizing their screening intentions and identifying and addressing their stated screening barriers with the goal of guiding them toward accessing screening services near their community. Outcomes will be evaluated at 120-days post randomization via self-report and will include mammography utilization status, barriers, and movement along a behavioral stages of readiness to screen model.
This highly innovative project will be guided and initiated by AI/AN and Latina community members and will test the practical application of emerging behavioral theory among minority persons living in rural communities.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials (NCT): NCT01267110
PMCID: PMC3036625  PMID: 21255424
8.  Mobile Phone Text Messaging Intervention for Cervical Cancer Screening: Changes in Knowledge and Behavior Pre-Post Intervention 
Cervical cancer poses a significant threat to Korean American women, who are reported to have one of the highest cervical cancer mortality rates in the United States. Studies consistently report that Korean American women have the lowest Pap test screening rates across US ethnic groups.
In response to the need to enhance cervical cancer screening in this vulnerable population, we developed and tested a 7-day mobile phone text message-based cervical cancer Screening (mScreening) intervention designed to promote the receipt of Pap tests by young Korean American women.
We developed and assessed the acceptability and feasibility of a 1-week mScreening intervention to increase knowledge of cervical cancer screening, intent to receive screening, and the receipt of a Pap test. Fogg’s Behavior Model was the conceptual framework that guided the development of the mScreening intervention. A series of focus groups were conducted to inform the development of the intervention. The messages were individually tailored for each participant and delivered to them for a 7-day period at each participant’s preferred time. A quasi-experimental research design of 30 Korean American women aged 21 to 29 years was utilized with baseline, post (1 week after the completion of mScreening), and follow-up (3 months after the completion of mScreening) testing.
Findings revealed a significant increase in participants’ knowledge of cervical cancer (P<.001) and guidelines for cervical cancer screening (P=.006). A total of 23% (7/30) (95% CI 9.9-42.3) of the mScreening participants received a Pap test; 83% (25/30) of the participants expressed satisfaction with the intervention and 97% (29/30) reported that they would recommend the program to their friends, indicating excellent acceptability and feasibility of the intervention.
This study provides evidence of the effectiveness and feasibility of the mScreening intervention. Mobile technology is a promising tool to increase both knowledge and receipt of cervical cancer screening. Given the widespread usage of mobile phones among young adults, a mobile phone-based health intervention could be a low-cost and effective method of reaching populations with low cervical cancer screening rates, using individually tailored messages that cover broad content areas and overcome restrictions to place and time of delivery.
PMCID: PMC4180333  PMID: 25164545
cervical cancer; Pap test; mobile health; text-messaging intervention; health behavior change; Korean American women; health disparity
9.  Rationale and design of the research project of the South Florida Center for the Reduction of Cancer Health Disparities (SUCCESS): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15(1):299.
In the United States certain minority groups, such as racial/ethnic immigrant women, are less likely than non-Hispanic White women to be screened for cervical cancer. Barriers to such care include health insurance, cost, knowledge, attitudes, health literacy, and cultural norms and practices. Among the most promising approaches to increase screening in these groups are patient navigators that can link women to sources of appropriate care. Another recent promising approach is using human papilloma virus (HPV) self-sampling. In this manuscript, we describe our National Cancer Institute-sponsored study testing such approaches among immigrant minority women.
The South Florida Center for the Reduction of Cancer Health Disparities (SUCCESS) is conducting a three-arm randomized trial among Hispanic, Haitian, and African American women in Miami-Dade County. Community health workers (CHW) based in each of three communities are recruiting 200 women at each site (600 total). Eligibility criteria include women aged 30–65 years who have not had a Pap smear test in the last 3 years. Prior to randomization, all women undergo a standardized structured interview. Women randomized to public health outreach, Group 1, receive culturally tailored educational materials. Women in Group 2 receive an individualized comprehensive cervical cancer CHW-led education session followed by patient navigation to obtain the Pap smear test at community-based facilities. Women in Group 3 have the option of navigation to a Pap smear test or performing HPV self-sampling. The primary outcome is self-report of completed screening through a Pap smear test or HPV self-sampling within 6 months after enrollment.
SUCCESS is one of the first trials testing HPV self-sampling as a screening strategy among underserved minority women. If successful, HPV self-sampling may be an important option in community outreach programs aimed at reducing disparities in cervical cancer.
Trial registration
Clinical # NCT02121548, registered April 21, 2014.
PMCID: PMC4127186  PMID: 25056208
Cervical cancer; Community-based participatory research; Haitian; Health disparities; Hispanic; Human papilloma virus; Immigrant; Minority; Screening
10.  Health Beliefs Associated with Cervical Cancer Screening Among Vietnamese Americans 
Journal of Women's Health  2013;22(3):276-288.
Vietnamese American women represent one of the ethnic subgroups at great risk for cervical cancer in the United States. The underutilization of cervical cancer screening and the vulnerability of Vietnamese American women to cervical cancer may be compounded by their health beliefs.
The objective of this study was to explore the associations between factors of the Health Belief Model (HBM) and cervical cancer screening among Vietnamese American women.
Vietnamese American women (n=1,450) were enrolled into the randomized controlled trial (RCT) study who were recruited from 30 Vietnamese community-based organizations located in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Participants completed baseline assessments of demographic and acculturation variables, health care access factors, and constructs of the HBM, as well as health behaviors in either English or Vietnamese.
The rate of those who had ever undergone cervical cancer screening was 53% (769/1450) among the participants. After adjusting for sociodemographic variables, the significant associated factors from HBM included: believing themselves at risk and more likely than average women to get cervical cancer; believing that cervical cancer changes life; believing a Pap test is important for staying healthy, not understanding what is done during a Pap test, being scared to know having cervical cancer; taking a Pap test is embarrassing; not being available by doctors at convenient times; having too much time for a test; believing no need for a Pap test when feeling well; and being confident in getting a test.
Understanding how health beliefs may be associated with cervical cancer screening among underserved Vietnamese American women is essential for identifying the subgroup of women who are most at risk for cervical cancer and would benefit from intervention programs to increase screening rates.
PMCID: PMC3601630  PMID: 23428284
11.  Cervical Screening at Age 50–64 Years and the Risk of Cervical Cancer at Age 65 Years and Older: Population-Based Case Control Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(1):e1001585.
Peter Sasieni and colleagues use a population-based case control study to assess the risk of cervical cancer in screened women aged over 65 years to help inform policy on the upper age of cervical cancer screening.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
There is little consensus, and minimal evidence, regarding the age at which to stop cervical screening. We studied the association between screening at age 50–64 y and cervical cancer at age 65–83 y.
Methods and Findings
Cases were women (n = 1,341) diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 65–83 y between 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2012 in England and Wales; age-matched controls (n = 2,646) were randomly selected from population registers. Screening details from 1988 onwards were extracted from national databases. We calculated the odds ratios (OR) for different screening histories and subsequent cervical cancer. Women with adequate negative screening at age 65 y (288 cases, 1,395 controls) were at lowest risk of cervical cancer (20-y risk: 8 cancers per 10,000 women) compared with those (532 cases, 429 controls) not screened at age 50–64 y (20-y risk: 49 cancers per 10,000 women, with OR = 0.16, 95% CI 0.13–0.19). ORs depended on the age mix of women because of the weakening association with time since last screen: OR = 0.11, 95% CI 0.08–0.14 at 2.5 to 7.5 y since last screen; OR = 0.27, 95% CI 0.20–0.36 at 12.5 to 17.5 y since last screen. Screening at least every 5.5 y between the ages 50 and 64 y was associated with a 75% lower risk of cervical cancer between the ages 65 and 79 y (OR = 0.25, 95% CI 0.21–0.30), and the attributable risk was such that in the absence of screening, cervical cancer rates in women aged 65+ would have been 2.4 (95% CI 2.1–2.7) times higher. In women aged 80–83 y the association was weaker (OR = 0.49, 95% CI 0.28–0.83) than in those aged 65–69 y (OR = 0.12, 95% CI 0.09–0.17). This study was limited by an absence of data on confounding factors; additionally, findings based on cytology may not generalise to human papillomavirus testing.
Women with adequate negative screening at age 50–64 y had one-sixth of the risk of cervical cancer at age 65–83 y compared with women who were not screened. Stopping screening between ages 60 and 69 y in women with adequate negative screening seems sensible, but further screening may be justifiable as life expectancy increases.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Nearly one in ten cancers diagnosed in women occur in the cervix, the structure that connects the womb to the vagina. Every year, more than a quarter of a million women (mostly in developing countries) die because of cervical cancer, which occurs only after the cervix has been infected with human papillomavirus (HPV) through sexual intercourse. In the earliest stages of cervical cancer, abnormal cells begin to grow in the cervix. Cells with low-grade abnormalities (changes that often revert to normal), cells with high-grade abnormalities (which are more likely to become cancerous), and cancer cells can all be detected by collecting a few cells from the cervix and examining them under a microscope. This test forms the basis of cervical screening, which has greatly reduced cervical cancer deaths in countries with a national screening program by ensuring that cervical abnormalities are detected at an early, treatable stage. In the UK, for example, since the start of a cervical screening program in 1988 in which women aged 25–64 years are called for testing every 3–5 years, the incidence of cervical cancer (the number of new cases per year) has almost halved at a time when sexually transmitted diseases have more than doubled.
Why Was This Study Done?
Currently, there is little consensus about the age at which cervical screening should stop, and minimal evidence about the impact of cervical screening on the incidence of cervical cancer in older women. In this population-based case control study (a study that compares the characteristics of all the cases of a disease in a population with the characteristics of matched individuals without the disease), the researchers examine the association between screening in women aged 50–64 years and cervical cancer in women aged 65–83 years. They ask whether well-screened women with a history of negative results and no evidence of high-grade abnormalities are at sufficiently low risk of cervical cancer that screening can be stopped at age 65 years, and whether women who are regularly screened (at least once every 5.5 years) between the ages of 50 and 64 years are subsequently at reduced risk of cervical cancer.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers randomly selected two age-matched controls for every woman aged 65–83 years who was diagnosed with cervical cancer between 2007 and 2012 in England and Wales. The researchers included 1,341 women with cervical cancer and 2,646 controls. They extracted each woman's cervical screening details from national databases and calculated the association between screening history and subsequent cervical cancer. Women with adequate negative screening at age 65 years (at least three tests at age 50–64 years with the last one over age 60, the last three of which were negative, and no evidence of high-grade abnormalities) were at the lowest risk of cervical cancer (20-year risk of eight cancers per 10,000 women) compared with unscreened women (20-year risk of 49 cancers per 10,000 women). That is, women who were not screened at age 50–64 years were six times more likely to develop cervical cancer between the ages of 65 and 83 years than women who were screened. The risk of developing cervical cancer among adequately negatively screened women increased with age and with time since the last screen. Finally, the researchers estimate that in the absence of any cervical screening, the rate of cervical cancer among women aged 65–79 years would be 23 cases per 100,000 woman-years, 2.4 times higher than the current rate.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that women who exited the screening program in England and Wales with a history of adequate negative screening between the ages of 50 and 64 years were at a very low risk of being diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 65 years or older. The “protection” provided by screening was greatest for women aged 65–69 years and decreased steadily with increasing age and with time since the last negative screen. Because the researchers did not have any information on other characteristics that might have affected cervical cancer risk (for example, number of sexual partners), the women who were screened may have shared other characteristics that reduced their risk of developing cervical cancer. Moreover, these findings, which are based on microscopic examination of cells, may not generalise to the HPV-based screening programs that many countries are considering. Despite these limitations, the researchers conclude that, for now, it seems sensible to continue screening at least until age 60 years and not beyond age 69 years in women with adequate negative screening, but that given increasing life expectancy, screening in older women might be justified in the future.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Anne Rositch and colleagues
The US National Cancer Institute provides information about cervical cancer for patients and for health professionals, including information on cervical screening (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information about cervical cancer and about cervical screening
The UK National Health Service Cervical Screening Programme website has detailed information and statistics on cervical screening in England
The UK National Health Service Choices website has pages on cervical cancer (including a personal story about cervical cancer) and on cervical screening (including personal comments about screening)
Cancer Research UK provides detailed information about all aspects of cervical cancer
More information about cervical cancer and screening is available from the Macmillan cancer charity
MedlinePlus provides links to additional resources about cervical cancer and screening (in English and Spanish)
Personal stories about cervical cancer and about cervical screening are available through the charity Healthtalkonline
PMCID: PMC3891624  PMID: 24453946
12.  A nurse-delivered intervention to reduce barriers to breast and cervical cancer screening in Chicago inner city clinics. 
Public Health Reports  1994;109(1):104-111.
An 18-month intervention was implemented to increase breast and cervical cancer screening among poor African-American women in Chicago. Breast and cervical cancer screening programs were set up in two public clinics, one community-based and the other hospital-based. Nurse clinicians and public health workers were used in these programs to recruit women in the clinics and in targeted community institutions to receive free breast and cervical cancer screening. The following barriers were specifically addressed by the intervention: accessibility of screening, knowledge about breast and cervical cancers, access to followup screening examinations, and access to treatment. A computerized followup system was specifically designed to track patients. During the 18 months of the intervention, 10,829 visits were made by 7,654 low-income women. A total of 84 cases of breast cancer and 9 cases of cervical cancer were detected. Awareness of the program, as measured by a survey after the completion of the intervention, increased in both clinics compared with baseline results. Knowledge about breast and cervical cancers also increased, as measured by scores on tests given before and after a class on breast and cervical cancers. Followup rates were 86 percent for women attending the programs. More than 90 percent of the women referred for evaluation of breast abnormalities kept an appointment. In summary, the intervention was successful in reducing barriers to breast and cervical cancer detection and in attracting a high-risk group of women.
PMCID: PMC1402249  PMID: 8303003
13.  Racial and ethnic differences in personal cervical cancer screening amongst post-graduate physicians: Results from a cross-sectional survey 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:378.
Racial and ethnic disparities in cervical cancer screening have been attributed to socioeconomic, insurance, and cultural differences. Our objective was to explore racial and ethnic differences in adherence to cervical cancer screening recommendations among female post-graduate physicians.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey at one university hospital among a convenience sample of 204 female post-graduate physicians (52% of all potential participants), examining adherence to United States Preventive Services Task Force cervical cancer screening recommendations, perception of adherence to recommendations, and barriers to obtaining care.
Overall, 83% of women were adherent to screening recommendations and 84% accurately perceived adherence or non-adherence. Women who self-identified as Asian were significantly less adherent when compared with women who self-identified as white (69% vs. 87%; Relative Risk [RR] = 0.79, 95% Confidence Interval [CI], 0.64–0.97; P < 0.01). Women who self-identified as East Indian were significantly less likely to accurately perceive adherence or non-adherence when compared to women who self-identified as white (64% vs. 88%; RR = 0.73, 95% CI, 0.49–1.09, P = 0.04). Women who self-identified as Asian were significantly more likely to report any barrier to obtaining care when compared with women who self-identified as white (60% vs. 35%; RR = 1.75, 95% CI, 1.24–2.47; P = 0.001) and there was a non-significant tendency toward women who self-identified as East Indian being more likely to report any barrier to obtaining care when compared with women who self-identified as white (60% vs. 34%; RR = 1.74, 95% CI, 1.06–2.83; P = 0.06).
Among a small group of insured, highly-educated physicians who have access to health care, we found racial and ethnic differences in adherence to cervical cancer screening recommendations, suggesting that culture may play a role in cervical cancer screening.
PMCID: PMC2590615  PMID: 18973674
14.  Korean women: breast cancer knowledge, attitudes and behaviors 
BMC Public Health  2001;1:7.
Clustered within the nomenclature of Asian American are numerous subgroups, each with their own ethnic heritage, cultural, and linguistic characteristics. An understanding of the prevailing health knowledge, attitudes, and screening behaviors of these subgroups is essential for creating population-specific health promotion programs.
Korean American women (123) completed baseline surveys of breast cancer knowledge, attitudes, and screening behaviors as part of an Asian grocery store-based breast cancer education program evaluation. Follow-up telephone surveys, initiated two weeks later, were completed by 93 women.
Low adherence to the American Cancer Society's breast cancer screening guidelines and insufficient breast cancer knowledge were reported. Participants' receptiveness to the grocery store-based breast cancer education program underscores the importance of finding ways to reach Korean women with breast cancer early detection information and repeated cues for screening. The data also suggest that the Asian grocery store-based cancer education program being tested may have been effective in motivating a proportion of the women to schedule a breast cancer screening between the baseline and follow-up surveys.
The program offers a viable strategy to reach Korean women that addresses the language, cultural, transportation, and time barriers they face in accessing breast cancer early detection information.
PMCID: PMC55345  PMID: 11553321
15.  Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Cancer Screening 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2003;18(12):1028-1035.
Racial/ethnic groups comprised largely of foreign-born individuals have lower rates of cancer screening than white Americans. Little is known about whether these disparities are related primarily to their race/ethnicity or birthplace.
To determine whether foreign birthplace explains some racial/ethnic disparities in cancer screening.
Cross-sectional study using 1998 data from the National Health Interview Survey.
Completion of cervical, breast, or colorectal cancer screening.
Of respondents, 15% were foreign born. In analyses adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics and illness burden, black respondents were as or more likely to report cancer screening than white respondents; however, Hispanic and Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) respondents were significantly less likely to report screening for most cancers. When race/ethnicity and birthplace were considered together, U.S.-born Hispanic and AAPI respondents were as likely to report cancer screening as U.S.-born whites; however, foreign-born white (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 0.58; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.41 to 0.82), Hispanic (AOR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.53 to 0.79), and AAPI respondents (AOR, 0.28; 95% CI, 0.19 to 0.39) were less likely than U.S.-born whites to report Pap smears. Foreign-born Hispanic and AAPI respondents were also less likely to report fecal occult blood testing (FOBT); AORs, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.53 to 0.98; and 0.61; 95% CI, 0.39 to 0.96, respectively); and sigmoidoscopy (AORs, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.51 to 0.97; and 0.63; 95% CI, 0.40 to 0.99, respectively). Furthermore, foreign-born AAPI respondents were less likely to report mammography (AOR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.28 to 0.86). Adjusting for access to care partially attenuated disparities among foreign-born respondents.
Foreign birthplace may explain some disparities previously attributed to race or ethnicity, and is an important barrier to cancer screening, even after adjustment for other factors. Increasing access to health care may improve disparities among foreign-born persons to some degree, but further study is needed to understand other barriers to screening among the foreign-born.
PMCID: PMC1494963  PMID: 14687262
cervical cancer; breast cancer; colorectal cancer; cancer screening; race/ethnicity; immigrant status; health disparities
16.  Eight Americas: Investigating Mortality Disparities across Races, Counties, and Race-Counties in the United States 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(9):e260.
The gap between the highest and lowest life expectancies for race-county combinations in the United States is over 35 y. We divided the race-county combinations of the US population into eight distinct groups, referred to as the “eight Americas,” to explore the causes of the disparities that can inform specific public health intervention policies and programs.
Methods and Findings
The eight Americas were defined based on race, location of the county of residence, population density, race-specific county-level per capita income, and cumulative homicide rate. Data sources for population and mortality figures were the Bureau of the Census and the National Center for Health Statistics. We estimated life expectancy, the risk of mortality from specific diseases, health insurance, and health-care utilization for the eight Americas. The life expectancy gap between the 3.4 million high-risk urban black males and the 5.6 million Asian females was 20.7 y in 2001. Within the sexes, the life expectancy gap between the best-off and the worst-off groups was 15.4 y for males (Asians versus high-risk urban blacks) and 12.8 y for females (Asians versus low-income southern rural blacks). Mortality disparities among the eight Americas were largest for young (15–44 y) and middle-aged (45–59 y) adults, especially for men. The disparities were caused primarily by a number of chronic diseases and injuries with well-established risk factors. Between 1982 and 2001, the ordering of life expectancy among the eight Americas and the absolute difference between the advantaged and disadvantaged groups remained largely unchanged. Self-reported health plan coverage was lowest for western Native Americans and low-income southern rural blacks. Crude self-reported health-care utilization, however, was slightly higher for the more disadvantaged populations.
Disparities in mortality across the eight Americas, each consisting of millions or tens of millions of Americans, are enormous by all international standards. The observed disparities in life expectancy cannot be explained by race, income, or basic health-care access and utilization alone. Because policies aimed at reducing fundamental socioeconomic inequalities are currently practically absent in the US, health disparities will have to be at least partly addressed through public health strategies that reduce risk factors for chronic diseases and injuries.
US mortality rates were calculated according to "race-county" units and divided into the "eight Americas", across which there are enormous disparities in life expectancy.
Editors' Summary
It has been recognized for a long time that the number of years that people in the United States can expect to live (“life expectancy”) varies enormously. For example, white Americans tend to live longer than black Americans, and life expectancy is much greater in some of the roughly 3,000 counties of the US than it is in others. However, there is a lack of information and understanding on how big a part is played in “health inequalities” by specific diseases and injuries, by risk factors (such as tobacco, alcohol, and obesity), and by variations in access to effective health care.
Why Was This Study Done?
The researchers wanted to find a way of dividing the people of the US into groups based on a small number of characteristics—such as location of county of residence, race, and income—that would help demonstrate the most important factors accounting for differences in life expectancy.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used figures from the US Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics to calculate mortality (death) rates for the years 1982–2001. They took note of the county of residence and of the race of all the people who died during that period of time. This enabled them to calculate the mortality rates for all 8,221 “race-county units” (all of the individuals of a given race in a given county). They experimented with different ways of combining the race-counties into a small and manageable number of groups. They eventually settled on the idea of there being “eight Americas,” defined on the basis of race-county, population density, income, and homicide rate. Each group contains millions or tens of millions of people. For each of the eight groups the researchers estimated life expectancy, the risk of mortality from specific diseases, the proportion of people who had health insurance, and people's routine encounters with health-care services. (The researchers also created maps of life expectancies for the US counties.) They describe their eight Americas as follows: Asians, northland low-income rural whites, Middle America, low-income whites in Appalachia and the Mississippi Valley, western Native Americans, black Middle America, low-income southern rural blacks, and high-risk urban blacks.
Many striking differences in life expectancy were found between the eight groups. For example, in 2001, the life expectancy gap between the 3.4 million high-risk urban black males and the 5.6 million Asian females was nearly 21 years. Within the sexes, the life expectancy gap between the best-off and the worst-off groups was 15.4 years for males (Asians versus high-risk urban blacks) and 12.8 years for females (Asians versus low-income rural blacks in the South). The causes of death that were mainly responsible for these variations were various chronic diseases and injury. The gaps between best-off and worst-off were similar in 2001 to what they were in 1987.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Health inequalities in the US are large and are showing no sign of reducing. Social and economic reforms would certainly help change the situation. At the same time, the public health system should also improve the way in which it deals with risk factors for chronic diseases and injuries so that groups with the highest death rates receive larger benefits.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
A Perspective article by Gregory Pappas in this issue of PLoS Medicine (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030357) discusses the methods of this piece of research and the findings
The American Medical Students' Association deals with the question “What are Health Disparities?” on its web site
The National Institutes of Health's “Strategic Research Plan to Reduce and Ultimately Eliminate Health Disparities” may be seen at the NIH web site
The Office of Minority Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a Web page called “Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities”
The issue of health inequalities in the US has also been dealt with by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
PMCID: PMC1564165  PMID: 16968116
17.  Encouraging Vietnamese-American Women to Obtain Pap Tests Through Lay Health Worker Outreach and Media Education 
Five times more Vietnamese-American women develop cervical cancer than white women. Few studies have examined whether community-based participatory research can effectively address Asian immigrants' health problems. This article reports the preliminary evaluation of 1 such project.
A coalition of 11 organizations in Santa Clara County, California worked with university researchers to design and simultaneously implement a media education (ME) campaign and a lay health worker outreach (LHWO) program to increase Vietnamese-American women's cervical cancer awareness, knowledge, and screening. Two agencies each recruited 10 lay health workers (LHWs), who, in turn, each recruited 20 women who were then randomized into 2 groups: 10 to LHWO+ME (n = 200) and 10 to ME alone (n = 200). LHWs organized meetings with women to increase their knowledge and to motivate them to obtain Pap tests. Participants completed pre- and post-intervention questionnaires.
At post-intervention, significantly more LHWO+ME women understood that human papillomavirus and smoking cause cervical cancer. The number of women who had obtained a Pap test increased significantly among women in both LHWO+ME and ME groups, but substantially more in the LHWO+ME group. Significantly more LHWO+ME women said they intended to have a Pap test.
Media education campaigns can increase Vietnamese women's awareness of the importance of Pap tests, but lay health workers are more effective at encouraging women to actually obtain the tests. Lay health workers are effective because they use their cultural knowledge and social networks to create change. Researchers, community members, and community-based organizations can share expert knowledge and skills, and build one another's capacities.
PMCID: PMC1494888  PMID: 12848834
cervical cancer; screening; vietnamese; lay health worker; media
18.  US Geographic Distribution of Pre-Vaccine Era Cervical Cancer Screening, Incidence, Stage, and Mortality 
Cervical cancer prevention programs are being reconfigured to incorporate human papillomavirus (HPV) testing and vaccination. To define priority areas for prevention efforts, we examined the geographic distribution of cervical cancer screening, incidence, stage, and mortality in the United States prior to the introduction of HPV-based prevention technologies.
County-level cervical cancer incidence data from 37 central registries were obtained from Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) and North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) registries. A spatial- temporal model that accounted for demographic and behavioral attributes was used to generate a complete view of county-level incidence from 1995–2004, including counties with missing data. Distribution of stage at diagnosis was examined by registry. Counties with high mortality and infrequent screening were identified using vital statistics and newly available county level screening estimates.
Compared to non-Hispanic whites and Asian and Pacific Islanders, incidence rates were higher among non-Hispanic black, American Indian and Alaska Native, and Hispanic women. Counties with infrequent screening often experienced elevated incidence and mortality rates and were located in states with suboptimal stage-at-diagnosis profiles. Affected areas included Appalachia, the southeastern Atlantic states, and the lower Mississippi Valley. Elevated death rates were experienced in central counties of large metropolitan areas.
Geographic and racial/ethnic variability were evident in cervical cancer incidence and mortality. Women living in areas with endemic poverty would benefit from access to HPV-based prevention technologies.
These findings provide a baseline for monitoring progress in cervical cancer control in the era of HPV-based prevention.
PMCID: PMC3070049  PMID: 21266522
cervical cancer; geography; Human Papillomavirus (HPV); spatial-temporal modeling
19.  Cervical cancer screening and adherence to follow-up among Hispanic women study protocol: a randomized controlled trial to increase the uptake of cervical cancer screening in Hispanic women 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:170.
In the US, Hispanic women have a higher incidence of, and mortality from, cervical cancer than non-Hispanic white women. The reason for this disparity may be attributable to both low rates of screening and poor adherence to recommended diagnostic follow-up after an abnormal Pap test. The 'Cervical Cancer Screening and Adherence to Follow-up Among Hispanic Women' study is a collaboration between a research institution and community partners made up of members from community based organizations, the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic and the Breast, Cervical, and Colon Health Program of the Yakima District . The study will assess the efficacy of two culturally-appropriate, tailored educational programs designed to increase cervical cancer screening among Hispanic women, based in the Yakima Valley, Washington, US.
A parallel randomized-controlled trial of 600 Hispanic women aged 21–64, who are non-compliant with Papanicolau (Pap) test screening guidelines. Participants will be randomized using block randomization to (1) a control arm (usual care); (2) a low-intensity information program, consisting of a Spanish-language video that educates women on the importance of cervical cancer screening; or (3) a high-intensity program consisting of the video plus a ‘promotora’ or lay-community health educator-led, home based intervention to encourage cervical cancer screening. Participants who attend cervical cancer screening, and receive a diagnosis of an abnormal Pap test will be assigned to a patient navigator who will provide support and information to promote adherence to follow-up tests, and any necessary surgery or treatment. Primary endpoint: Participants will be tracked via medical record review at community-based clinics, to identify women who have had a Pap test within 7 months of baseline assessment. Medical record reviewers will be blinded to randomization arm. Secondary endpoint: An evaluation of the patient navigator program as a method to improve adherence and reduce time to follow-up among participants who receive an abnormal Pap test result. An additional secondary endpoint is the cost-effectiveness of the two different intensity intervention programs.
This culturally sensitive intervention aims to increase compliance and adherence to cervical screening in a Hispanic population. If effective, such interventions may reduce incidence of cervical cancer.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3407514  PMID: 22559251
Hispanic women; Pap test; Cervical cancer screening; Cancer disparities
20.  Sex-Specific Immunization for Sexually Transmitted Infections Such as Human Papillomavirus: Insights from Mathematical Models 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(12):e1001147.
Johannes Bogaards and colleagues use mathematical models to investigate whether vaccinating females only, males only, or both sexes is the best way to achieve the most effective reduction in the population prevalence of sexually-transmitted infections
Sex-specific differences regarding the transmissibility and the course of infection are the rule rather than the exception in the epidemiology of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Human papillomavirus (HPV) provides an example: disease outcomes differ between men and women, as does the potential for transmission to the opposite sex. HPV vaccination of preadolescent girls was recently introduced in many countries, and inclusion of boys in the vaccination programs is being discussed. Here, we address the question of whether vaccinating females only, males only, or both sexes is the most effective strategy to reduce the population prevalence of an STI like HPV.
Methods and Findings
We use a range of two-sex transmission models with varying detail to identify general criteria for allocating a prophylactic vaccine between both sexes. The most effective reduction in the population prevalence of infection is always achieved by single-sex vaccination; vaccinating the sex with the highest prevaccine prevalence is the preferred strategy in most circumstances. Exceptions arise only when the higher prevaccine prevalence is due to a substantially lower rate of natural immunity, or when natural immunity is lifelong, and a prolonged duration of infectiousness coincides with increased transmissibility. Predictions from simple models were confirmed in simulations based on an elaborate HPV transmission model. Our analysis suggests that relatively inefficient genital transmission from males to females might render male vaccination more effective in reducing overall infection levels. However, most existing HPV vaccination programs have achieved sufficient coverage to continue with female-only vaccination.
Increasing vaccine uptake among preadolescent girls is more effective in reducing HPV infection than including boys in existing vaccination programs. As a rule, directing prophylactic immunization at the sex with the highest prevaccine prevalence results in the largest reduction of the population prevalence.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
About 10% of cancers in women occur in the cervix, the structure that connects the womb to the vagina. Every year, more than a quarter of a million women (85% of them in developing countries) die because of cervical cancer, which only occurs after the cervix has been infected with a human papillomavirus (HPV) through sexual intercourse (HPV is one of more than thirty sexually transmissable organisms that, globally, cause many millions of sexually transmitted infections every year). There are many types of HPV, a virus that infects the skin and the mucosa (the moist membranes that line various parts of the body, including the cervix). Most people become infected with HPV at some time during their life, but most never know they have been infected. Some HPV types cause harmless warts on the skin or around the genital area, and several—in particular HPV16 and HPV18, so-called high-risk HPVs—can cause cervical cancer (and some other cancers, including anal, penile, head, and neck cancers). HPV infections are usually cleared by the immune system, but about 10% of women infected with a high-risk HPV develop a long-term infection that puts them at risk of developing cervical cancer.
Why Was This Study Done?
Screening programs have greatly reduced cervical cancer deaths in developed countries by detecting the cancer early, when it can be treated. However, it would be better to prevent cervical cancer ever developing. Moreover, most women in developing countries do not have access to screening. Because infection with specific HPV types can cause the development of some types of cervical cancer, vaccination of girls against HPV before the onset of sexual activity might be one way to prevent cervical cancer. Scientists recently developed a vaccine that prevents infection with HPV16 and HPV18, and HPV vaccination programs have been introduced in several countries. These programs are currently directed only at girls because HPV-related illness and death are higher among women than men, but should boys also be included in HPV vaccination programs? Men would benefit directly from immunization against HPV-related diseases, but, in addition, vaccination of boys might help to reduce the circulation of HPV in the population, thereby indirectly improving the protection of women through so-called “herd immunity.” In this study, the researchers used mathematical models to investigate whether vaccinating girls only, boys only, or both sexes is the most effective way to reduce the population prevalence of HPV infection (the proportion of the population infected with HPV).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers first used a range of standard two-sex mathematical models of infection and transmission in heterosexual populations to identify general criteria for allocating an HPV vaccine between the sexes. They found that the most effective reduction in the population prevalence of HPV infection was always achieved by single-sex vaccination and that, in most situations, the preferred strategy was to vaccinate the sex with the highest prevaccine prevalence of HPV infection. The researchers confirmed these predictions using a more elaborate HPV transmission model that incorporated differences among individuals in age and level of sexual activity. Importantly, this second analysis also suggested that for existing girl-only vaccination programs, increasing coverage of vaccination among girls would bolster herd immunity more effectively than switching to a policy of vaccinating both sexes.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The findings of this study suggest that increasing vaccine uptake among preadolescent girls is a more effective way to reduce HPV infection than including boys in existing vaccination programs. They also suggest that directing HPV vaccination at the sex with the highest prevaccine prevalence of infection will reduce the population prevalence of HPV most effectively. Although the accuracy of these findings is dependent on the assumptions included in the mathematical transmission models used by the researchers, these findings support a policy of increasing female HPV vaccine coverage as far as possible, within the limits set by vaccine acceptance and economic constraints. More generally, these findings suggest that single-sex preventative interventions might be the best way to reduce heterosexual transmission of other sexually transmitted infections and that targeting the sex with the highest prevalence of infection might achieve the most effective reduction in the population prevalence of these common diseases.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Cancer Institute provides information about cervical cancer for patients and for health professionals, including information on HPV vaccines (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information about cervical cancer and HPV
The UK National Health Service Choices website has pages on cervical cancer and HPV vaccination (available in several languages and including a short video of girls talking about HPV vaccination)
The PREHDICT project investigates health-economic modeling of prevention strategies for HPV-related diseases in European countries; information about this project is available from the European Cervical Cancer Association
More information about cervical cancer and HPV vaccination is available from Macmillan Cancer Support
Personal stories about cervical cancer are available through the charity Healthtalkonline
MedlinePlus provides links to additional resources about cervical cancer and other sexually transmitted infections (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC3243713  PMID: 22205887
21.  Packaging Health Services When Resources Are Limited: The Example of a Cervical Cancer Screening Visit 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(11):e434.
Increasing evidence supporting the value of screening women for cervical cancer once in their lifetime, coupled with mounting interest in scaling up successful screening demonstration projects, present challenges to public health decision makers seeking to take full advantage of the single-visit opportunity to provide additional services. We present an analytic framework for packaging multiple interventions during a single point of contact, explicitly taking into account a budget and scarce human resources, constraints acknowledged as significant obstacles for provision of health services in poor countries.
Methods and Findings
We developed a binary integer programming (IP) model capable of identifying an optimal package of health services to be provided during a single visit for a particular target population. Inputs to the IP model are derived using state-transition models, which compute lifetime costs and health benefits associated with each intervention. In a simplified example of a single lifetime cervical cancer screening visit, we identified packages of interventions among six diseases that maximized disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) averted subject to budget and human resource constraints in four resource-poor regions. Data were obtained from regional reports and surveys from the World Health Organization, international databases, the published literature, and expert opinion. With only a budget constraint, interventions for depression and iron deficiency anemia were packaged with cervical cancer screening, while the more costly breast cancer and cardiovascular disease interventions were not. Including personnel constraints resulted in shifting of interventions included in the package, not only across diseases but also between low- and high-intensity intervention options within diseases.
The results of our example suggest several key themes: Packaging other interventions during a one-time visit has the potential to increase health gains; the shortage of personnel represents a real-world constraint that can impact the optimal package of services; and the shortage of different types of personnel may influence the contents of the package of services. Our methods provide a general framework to enhance a decision maker's ability to simultaneously consider costs, benefits, and important nonmonetary constraints. We encourage analysts working on real-world problems to shift from considering costs and benefits of interventions for a single disease to exploring what synergies might be achievable by thinking across disease burdens.
Jane Kim and colleagues analyzed the possible ways that multiple health interventions might be packaged together during a single visit, taking into account scarce financial and human resources.
Editors' Summary
Public health decision makers in developed and developing countries are exploring the idea of providing packages of health checks at specific times during a person's lifetime to detect and/or prevent life-threatening diseases such as diabetes, heart problems, and some cancers. Bundling together tests for different diseases has advantages for both health-care systems and patients. It can save time and money for both parties and, by associating health checks with life events such as childbirth, it can take advantage of a valuable opportunity to check on the overall health of individuals who may otherwise rarely visit a doctor. But money and other resources (for example, nurses to measure blood pressure) are always limited, even in wealthy countries, so decision makers have to assess the likely costs and benefits of packages of interventions before putting them into action.
Why Was This Study Done?
Recent evidence suggests that women in developing countries would benefit from a once-in-a-lifetime screen for cervical cancer, a leading cause of cancer death for this population. If such a screening strategy for cervical cancer were introduced, it might provide a good opportunity to offer women other health checks, but it is unclear which interventions should be packaged together. In this study, the researchers have developed an analytic framework to identify an optimal package of health services to offer to women attending a clinic for their lifetime cervical cancer screen. Their model takes into account monetary limitations and possible shortages in trained personnel to do the health checks, and balances these constraints against the likely health benefits for the women.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers developed a “mathematical programming” model to identify an optimal package of health services to be provided during a single visit. They then used their model to estimate the average costs and health outcomes per woman of various combinations of health interventions for 35- to 40-year-old women living in four regions of the world with high adult death rates. The researchers chose breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, anemia caused by iron deficiency, and sexually transmitted diseases as health conditions to be checked in addition to cervical cancer during the single visit. They considered two ways—one cheap in terms of money and people; the other more expensive but often more effective—of checking for or dealing with each potential health problem. When they set a realistic budgetary constraint (based on the annual health budget of the poorest countries and a single health check per woman in the two decades following her reproductive years), the optimal health package generated by the model for all four regions included cervical cancer screening done by testing for human papillomavirus (an effective but complex test), treatment for depression, and screening or treatment for anemia. When a 50% shortage in general (for example, nurses) and specialized (for example, doctors) personnel time was also included, the health benefits of the package were maximized by using a simpler test for cervical cancer and by treating anemia but not depression; this freed up resources in some regions to screen for breast cancer or cardiovascular disease.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The model described by the researchers provides a way to explore the potential advantages of delivering a package of health interventions to individuals in a single visit. Like all mathematical models, its conclusions rely heavily on the data used in its construction. Indeed, the researchers stress that, because they did not have full data on the effectiveness of each intervention and made many other assumptions, their results on their own cannot be used to make policy decisions. Nevertheless, their results clearly show that the packaging of multiple health services during a single visit has great potential to maximize health gains, provided the right interventions are chosen. Most importantly, their analysis shows that in the real world the shortage of personnel, which has been ignored in previous analyses even though it is a major problem in many developing countries, will affect which health conditions and specific interventions should be bundled together to provide the greatest impact on public health.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization has information on choosing cost-effective health interventions and on human resources for health
The American Cancer Society offers patient information on cervical cancer
The Alliance for Cervical Cancer Prevention includes information about cervical cancer prevention programs in developing countries
PMCID: PMC1635742  PMID: 17105337
22.  Community Health Worker Intervention to Decrease Cervical Cancer Disparities in Hispanic Women 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2010;25(11):1186-1192.
U.S. Hispanic women suffer a disproportionate burden of cervical cancer, with incidence and mortality rates almost twice that of whites. Community health workers, or promotoras, are considered a potential strategy for eliminating such racial and ethnic health disparities. The current study is a randomized trial of a promotora-led educational intervention focused on cervical cancer in a local Hispanic community.
Four promotoras led a series of two workshops with community members covering content related to cervical cancer. Sociodemographic characteristics, cervical cancer risk, previous screening history, cervical cancer knowledge, and self-efficacy were measured by a pre-intervention questionnaire. The post-intervention questionnaire measured the following outcomes: cervical cancer knowledge (on a 0–6 scale), self-efficacy (on a 0–5 scale), and receipt of Pap smear screening during the previous 6 months (dichotomous). Univariate analyses were performed using chi square, t-test, and the Mann–Whitney test. Multivariate logistic regression was used to model the association between explanatory variables and receipt of Pap smear screening.
There were no statistically significant differences between the two experimental groups at baseline. Follow-up data revealed significant improvements in all outcome measures: Pap smear screening (65% vs. 36%, p-value 0.02), cervical cancer knowledge (5.4 vs. 3.5, p-value < 0.001), and self-efficacy (4.7 vs. 4.0, p-value 0.002). In multivariate analysis, cervical cancer knowledge (OR 1.68, 95% CI 1.10-2.81) and intervention group assignment (OR 6.74, 95% CI 1.77-25.66) were associated with receiving a Pap smear during the follow-up period.
Our randomized trial of a promotora-led educational intervention demonstrated improved Pap screening rates, in addition to increased knowledge about cervical cancer and self-efficacy. The observed association between cervical cancer knowledge and Pap smear receipt underscores the importance of educating vulnerable populations about the diseases that disproportionately affect them. Future research should evaluate such programs on a larger scale, and identify novel targets for intervention.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-010-1434-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2947642  PMID: 20607434
cervical cancer; health disparities; community health worker; promotora
23.  Using concept mapping in the knowledge-to-action process to compare stakeholder opinions on barriers to use of cancer screening among South Asians 
Using the knowledge-to-action (KTA) process, this study examined barriers to use of evidence-based interventions to improve early detection of cancer among South Asians from the perspective of multiple stakeholders.
In 2011, we used concept mapping with South Asian residents, and representatives from health service and community service organizations in the region of Peel Ontario. As part of concept mapping procedures, brainstorming sessions were conducted with stakeholders (n = 53) to identify barriers to cancer screening among South Asians. Participants (n = 46) sorted barriers into groups, and rated barriers from lowest (1) to highest (6) in terms of importance for use of mammograms, Pap tests and fecal occult blood tests, and how feasible it would be to address them. Multi-dimensional scaling, cluster analysis, and descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data.
A total of 45 unique barriers to use of mammograms, Pap tests, and fecal occult blood tests among South Asians were classified into seven clusters using concept mapping procedures: patient’s beliefs, fears, lack of social support; health system; limited knowledge among residents; limited knowledge among physicians; health education programs; ethno-cultural discordance with the health system; and cost. Overall, the top three ranked clusters of barriers were ‘limited knowledge among residents,’ ‘ethno-cultural discordance,’ and ‘health education programs’ across surveys. Only residents ranked ‘cost’ second in importance for fecal occult blood testing, and stakeholders from health service organizations ranked ‘limited knowledge among physicians’ third for the feasibility survey. Stakeholders from health services organizations ranked ‘limited knowledge among physicians’ fourth for all other surveys, but this cluster consistently ranked lowest among residents.
The limited reach of cancer control programs to racial and ethnic minority groups is a critical implementation issue that requires attention. Opinions of community service and health service organizations on why this deficit in implementation occurs are fundamental to understanding the solutions because these are the settings in which evidence-based interventions are implemented. Using concept mapping within a KTA process can facilitate the engagement of multiple stakeholders in the utilization of study results and in identifying next steps for action.
PMCID: PMC3617025  PMID: 23522447
Census data show that the US Vietnamese population now exceeds 1,250,000. Cervical cancer among Vietnamese American women has been identified as an important health disparity. Available data indicate the cervical cancer disparity may be due to low Pap testing rates rather than variations in HPV infection rates and/or types. The cervical cancer incidence rates among Vietnamese and non-Latina white women in California during 2000–2002 were 14.0 and 7.3 per 100,000, respectively. Only 70% of Vietnamese women who participated in the 2003 California Health Interview Survey reported a recent Pap smear, compared to 84% of non-Latina white women. Higher levels of cervical cancer screening participation among Vietnamese women are strongly associated with current/previous marriage, having a usual source of care/doctor, and previous physician recommendation. Vietnamese language media campaigns and lay health worker intervention programs have been effective in increasing Pap smear use in Vietnamese American communities. Cervical cancer control programs for Vietnamese women should address knowledge deficits; enable women who are without a usual source of care to find a primary care doctor; and improve patient-provider communication by encouraging health care providers to recommend Pap testing, as well as by empowering women to ask for testing.
PMCID: PMC2665877  PMID: 18990732
Cervical cancer; Pap testing; Vietnamese Americans
Psycho-oncology  2004;13(6):408-428.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in American women across most ethnic groups. Although the psychosocial impact of breast cancer is being studied, there is little information on women from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
We conducted a qualitative study with breast cancer survivors (BCS) of various ethnicities. A total of 102 BCS participated in focus group interviews (24 African Americans, 34 Asians, 26 Latinas and 18 Caucasians); 20 health professionals participated in key informant interviews. Important ethnic differences in type of treatment were noted, Asians and Latinas were more likely to receive mastectomies and African American BCS were least likely to receive adjuvant therapies, including radiation and chemotherapy. These BCS enjoyed a fairly good overall health-related quality of life (HRQOL) with some persistent concerns. The prevailing concerns among all women included overall health, moderate physical concerns, cancer recurrence or metastases, psychosocial concerns related to worry about children and burdening the family, and body image and sexual health concerns. Additional challenges included: lack of knowledge about breast cancer; medical care issues such as insurance, cost and amount of time spent with physician; cultural sensitivity of providers, language barriers, cultural factors related to beliefs about illness, gender role and family obligations (e.g. self-sacrifice). These BCS, particularly the women of color, voiced that their spiritual beliefs and practices are central to their coping. This study accomplishes two goals; it adds to the sparse literature concerning the psychosocial sequelae of breast cancer among women of color, and it increases our knowledge of specific cultural influences (e.g. dietary practices, coping) and socio-ecological factors on HRQOL. More importantly, the study addressed areas that have not been studied before, specifically, an in-depth study on BCS QOL comparing multiple ethnic groups in the US. The results of this investigation will provide preliminary information to survivors and health-care providers about the impact of culture and socio-ecological contexts on survivorship.
Among women of all major ethnic groups, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death (American Cancer Society (ACS), 2002). In 2002, over 203,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer (ACS, 2002). Ethnic disparities exist for cancer stage, diagnosis, survival, morbidity and mortality. In general, ethnic minority women are diagnosed with more advanced disease and experience greater morbidity and mortality (Haynes & Smedley, 1999; Miller et al., 1996; Ries et al., 2000; Shinagawa, 2000).
In general, increases in survival rates have prompted greater interest in the quality of life (QOL) of breast cancer survivors (BCS) over the past two decades. Additionally, the QOL of cancer survivors from diverse ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds is an emerging priority area for studies on survivorship research and clinical care (Haynes and Smedley, 1999; National Cancer Institute (NCI), 2002; President’s Cancer Panel, 2000).
PMCID: PMC1618782  PMID: 15188447

Results 1-25 (1276114)