‘I do not need to… I do not want to… I do not give it priority…’ – why women choose not to attend cervical cancer screening

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

Objective

To describe and interpret why women with no cervical smear taken during the previous 5 years choose not to attend a cervical cancer screening (CCS) programme.

Background

CCS programme is a service for early detection of cervical cancer. Today, some women choose not to attend the programme.

Design

Data were collected by tape-recorded interviews and analysed by qualitative inductive content analysis.

Setting and participants

Purposive sample of 14 women in southeast Sweden, who had chosen not to attend CCS during the previous 5 years.

Findings

The following themes were revealed: I do not need to…, I do not want to… and I do not give it priority…. The women had a positive attitude to CCS but as long as they felt healthy, they chose not to attend. A negative body image, low self-esteem, feelings of discomfort when confronted with the gynaecological examination and fear of the results also influenced their non-attendance. The women prioritized more important things in life and reported various degrees of lack of trust in health-care.

Conclusion

Women's choice not to attend CCS were complex and influenced by present and earlier intra- and inter-personal circumstances. They had a positive attitude to CCS, but other things in life were more important. Health-care professionals have to facilitate a co-operative discussion with the women in order to contribute to a mutual understanding for the perspectives of the women and the professionals.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles