To understand the experiences and perceptions of having cervical cancer screening tests and to explore the extant barriers to having the tests among first-generation Chinese American women in the United States.Design:
Qualitative, descriptive, phenomenological research.Setting:
Los Angeles, California.Participants:
Snowball and purposive sampling of 12 Chinese American immigrant women ages 20 to 65 years.Methods:
Individual face-to-face, in-depth, semistructured interviews in which participants were asked about their experiences and perceptions about cervical cancer screening. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and translated into English. Data analysis included comparing and distinguishing, collecting and counting, and presupposing and inferring.Results:
Through the analysis process, we identified four major themes that reflected the experiences, perceptions, and barriers to having cervical cancer screening among Chinese American women: Belief in a Healthy Lifestyle, Maintaining Privacy for Female Health Problems, Fear of Losing Control, and Feeling Vulnerable in an Unfamiliar Health Care System. These themes indicated that Chinese immigrant women in the United States face challenges to their cultural health beliefs and practices with regard to decision-making and health-seeking behaviors related to cervical cancer screening. They felt more vulnerable as immigrants because of systematic barriers to navigation of the unfamiliar health care system and limited resources.Conclusion:
Women's health care providers should be aware of and give consideration to cultural differences through the provision of more educational information and comfort to Chinese immigrant women who seek cervical cancer screening. Ultimately, the development of culturally appropriate and affordable cancer prevention programs with effective strategies is important to ease Chinese American women's senses of vulnerability.