Perceptions and behaviors of cervical cancer screening in refugee women
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BACKGROUND: Cervical cancer is one of the most common forms of gynecologic cancers both in the United States and worldwide. The morbidity and mortality associated with cervical cancer has decreased significantly with the development of effective screening for cervical cancer.1 However, refugee women in the United States are often impacted by the disparities in health care and experience increased risk of adverse health outcomes. LITERATURE REVIEW: Current research finds that refugee women in the United States often receive inadequate sexual and reproductive health services, including Pap smears for cervical cancer screening. This disparity leads to a higher burden of preventable morbidity and mortality. For refugee populations, numerous barriers to access have been identified including language, financial, and cultural barriers. Previous studies have identified that refugee women may have limited experience with preventative health care or confront cultural barriers in accessing sexual and reproductive health services. Further research must be done to study barriers to accessing cervical cancer screening among specific populations of refugee women. METHODS AND INTERVENTION: This study proposes to interview Iraqi, Bhutanese, and Somali refugee women in the greater-Boston area in order to better characterize experiences and understanding of cervical cancer screening. Investigators will conduct semi-structured interviews to collect narrative data, which will then be analyzed using qualitative analysis software to identify major themes. CONCLUSION: This study will seek to characterize perceptions and experiences of cervical cancer screening services among female refugees in the greater-Boston area. Limitations of this study include lack of generalizability and question-order bias. SIGNIFICANCE: The goal of characterizing barriers to access affecting refugee women in the greater-Boston community is to inform development of more effective public health interventions that will be targeted to the specific needs of local refugee populations. Efforts to increase uptake of cervical cancer screening services could result in decreased morbidity and mortality from cervical cancer for a vulnerable sector of the population.