Ending cervical cancer screening: attitudes and beliefs from ethnically diverse older women

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Abstract

Objective

Guidelines support ending cervical cancer screening in women aged 65-70 years and older with previous normal testing, but little is known about older women's attitudes and beliefs about ending screening.

Study Design

We conducted face-to-face interviews with 199 women aged 65 and older in English, Spanish, Cantonese, or Mandarin.

Results

Most interviewees were nonwhite (44.7% Asian, 18.1% Latina, and 11.6% African American). Most (68%) thought lifelong screening was either important or very important, a belief held more strongly by African American (77%) and Latina (83%) women compared with women in other ethnic groups (P < .01). Most (77%) had no plans to discontinue screening or had ever thought of discontinuing (69%). When asked if they would end screening if recommended by their physician, 68% responded “yes.”

Conclusion

The majority of these women believe that lifelong cervical cancer screening is important. Many women, however, reported that they would end screening if recommended by their physician.

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