Use of Cancer Screening Practices by Hispanic Women

Analyses by Subgroup

Published in: Preventive Medicine, v. 29, 1999, p. 466-477

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1999

by Ruth E. Zambrana, Nancy Breen, Sarah Fox, Mary Lou Gutierrez-Mohamed

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Objectives. This study compares the use of three cancer screening practices (Pap smear, mammogram, and clinical breast examination) 3 years prior to interview among five subgroups of Hispanic women, and examines whether sociodemographic; access; health behavior, perception, and knowledge; and acculturation factors predict screening practices for any subgroup. Methods. Descriptive and multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted with data pooled from the 1990 and 1992 National Health Interview Surveys on women who reported that they were Hispanic. The study sample includes 2,391 respondents: 668 Mexican- American, 537 Mexican, 332 Puerto Rican, 143 Cuban, and 711 other Hispanic women. Results. Subgroup profiles reveal differences in education, health insurance, use of English language, and screening use. Mexican women were the least likely to be screened with any procedure. Logistic regression results for each screening practice show that having a usual source of care was a positive predictor for obtaining each of the three screening practices within the last 3 years. Being married, being more than 50 years of age, and having knowledge of breast self-examination were all predictors of having a Pap smear. Having health insurance and ever having had a clinical breast examination and Pap smear were predictors of having a mammography, while age, knowledge of breast self-examination, ever having had a Pap smear and mammogram, and being a nonsmoker all predicted having a clinical breast examination. Conclusions. The authors conclude that access factors and prior screening are more strongly associated with current screening than are language and ethnic factors. The data confirm that a disproportionate percentage of Hispanic women are low income and at risk of being underscreened. These findings from a nationally representative sample of Hispanics have implications for provider practices, ethnic-specific community interventions, and future development of measures and data collection approaches.

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