Cervical Cancer Screening in Women With Severe Mental Disorders: An Approach to the Spanish Context

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The incidence of invasive cervical cancer and its mortality have been reduced through primary and secondary prevention. Screening rates tend to be lower in vulnerable groups, such as people with severe mental disorders, who have a later detection of cancer and a higher mortality. The access of these women to cervical cancer screening is uncertain in our context.


The aim of this study was to determine the cervical cancer screening rates in women with severe mental disorders.


This was a descriptive cross-sectional study. Women 25 to 65 years old who were admitted during 2016 to the psychiatric unit of a public hospital in Spain were included in the study, and it was determined if they had had cervical cancer screening.


A total of 103 eligible women, with a mean age of 45.6 years, were enrolled. Only 28 of the participants (27.2%) had had a cervical cancer screening done in the last 5 years. By age groups, statistically significant differences were found, with women between 35 and 44 years of age having higher rates of cervical cancer screening (41.9%) and the oldest, between 55 and 65 years of age, having the lowest (5%).


Women with severe mental health disorders who were admitted to acute psychiatric care units had much lower cervical cancer screening rates compared with the general population.

Implications for Practice

Mental health nurses could be the optimum professionals to promote cancer primary and secondary prevention in women with mental disorders.

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