Overcoming barriers to cervical cancer screening among Asian American women.
North American Journal of Medicine and Science, 4(2), 77-83
Significant disparities in cervical cancer incidence and mortality exist among ethnic minority women, and in particular, among Asian American women. These disparities have been attributed primarily to differences in screening rates across ethnic/racial groups. Asian American women have one of the lowest rates of screening compared to other ethnic/racial groups. Yet Asian Americans, who comprise one of the fastest growing populations in the United States, have received the least attention in cancer control research. Studies suggest that various factors, including lack of knowledge, psychosocial and cultural beliefs, and access barriers, are associated with cervical cancer screening behaviors among Asian American women. Indeed, the few interventions that have been developed for Asian American women demonstrate that targeting these factors can yield significant increases in screening rates. It is important to note, however, that the effectiveness of educational interventions is often attenuated if access barriers are not adequately addressed. Hence, interventions that include key essential components, such as the use of community individuals as lay health workers, culturally-tailored and linguistically-appropriate educational materials, and navigation assistance to overcome access barriers, are more likely to be successful in enhancing screening rates. As the benefits of community-based cervical cancer prevention programs become more apparent, it will be essential to identify effective approaches for disseminating such programs more broadly. In conclusion, community-based cervical cancer screening programs have demonstrated promise in addressing existing cervical cancer disparities by increasing awareness and knowledge and promoting recommended screening behaviors. These findings will be instrumental in guiding future community-based programs to reduce cervical cancer health disparities among Asian American women.