Cultural Beliefs and Understandings of Cervical Cancer Among Mexican Immigrant Women in Southeast Georgia

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Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health




Rural Mexican immigrant women in the U.S. are infrequently screened and experience health disparities from cervical cancer. We explored cancer-related cultural beliefs in this population. We administered a cross-sectional survey to 39 Mexican immigrant women due for screening. We conducted univariate and bivariate analyses of participants’ characteristics, Pap test history, cancer-related knowledge and beliefs, and cultural consensus analysis about causes of cervical cancer and barriers to screening. For all the cultural consensus tasks, there was consensus (Eigenratios >3:1) among survey participants. Comparing the rankings of risk factor clusters, clusters related to sexual behaviors were ranked more severely than clusters related to genetic or other behavioral factors. There was agreement on ideas of cervical cancer causation and barriers to screening among these women. Hence, improved methods of disseminating important health information and greater access to care are needed, particularly in relationship to stigma about sex and birth control practices.