What is the role of attitudinal barriers on cervical cancer screening non-attendance? findings from a cross-sectional study with migrant women in Portugal

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Abstract

Background: Cervical cancer is a common disease which can be effectively and timely detected by cervical cancer screening. However, access to cervical cancer screening is unequal, and it is known that migrant women have a lower attendance to cervical cancer screening. These inequalities are associated with several factors, including attitudes and beliefs of the women regarding screening practices, which prevents them from participating. This study aims to explore the attitudinal barriers to cervical cancer screening among migrant women in Portugal. Methods: A web-based cross-sectional survey was conducted with 1100 migrant women residing in Portugal. Women were recruited through social media platforms. The survey included items on socioeconomic characteristics, cervical cancer screening history and an 11-item attitudinal questionnaire to assess attitudinal barriers. Logistic regression models were used for statistical analysis. Results: The attitudinal barriers to CCS most often reported by participants were fear of the test result (25.3%), worry about seeing a male health professional (23.8%), perceiving the test as painful (23.1%), embarrassment (18.5%), difficulties scheduling the test (14.3%), and having a negative experience in screening (12.4%). Low perceived need in absence of symptoms and lack of motivation to be screened were reported by less than 5% of the women. However, the results suggest that most of the attitudinal barriers with higher agreement percentage have no association with cervical cancer screening attendance. Among all the attitudinal barriers, low perceived need of screening and lack of motivation were associated with CCS non-attendance. Conclusions: Based on the findings, out of all the factors analyzed, low perceived need of screening and lack of motivation are the most relevant factors associated with non-attendance among migrants in Portugal. Promoting health literacy and empowering women with knowledge about benefits of screening may help overcoming these barriers. Therefore, this study provides a foundation for stakeholders on which areas should be prioritized when developing strategies aiming to reduced cervical cancer screening non-attendance among migrant women.

Original languageEnglish
Article number52
JournalBMC Women's Health
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Early detection of cancer
  • Emigrants and immigrants
  • Reproductive health
  • Uterine cervical neoplasms
  • Women’s health

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