Factors associated with cervical cancer screening in a safety net population

Meredith A. Heberer, Ian K. Komenaka, Jesse S. Nodora, Chiu Hsieh Hsu, Sonal G. Gandhi, Lauren E. Welch, Marcia E. Bouton, Paula Aristizabal, Barry D. Weiss, Maria Elena Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


AIM To identify factors associated with Papanicolaou-smear (Pap-smear) cervical cancer screening rates in a safety net population. METHODS From January 2012 to May 2013, the use of Pap-smear was determined for all patients seen at the breast clinic in a safety net hospital. Health literacy assessment was performed using the validated Newest Vital Sign. The records of patients were reviewed to determine if they had undergone Pap-smears for cervical cancer screening. Sociodemographic information was collected included age, education, monthly income, race/ethnicity, employment, insurance status, and primary care provider of the patient. Logistic regression analysis was then performed to determine factors associated with utilization of Papsmears. Crude and adjusted odds ratios derived from multivariate logistic regression models were calculated as well as the associated 95%CIs and P -values. RESULTS Overall, 39% had Pap-smears in the prior 15 mo, 1377 consecutive women were seen during the study period and their records were reviewed. Significantly more patients with adequate health literacy underwent Papsmears as compared to those with limited health literacy (59% vs 34%, P < 0.0001). In multivariate analysis, patients with adequate health literacy, younger patients, and those with later age of first live birth were more likely to undergo Pap-smears. Patients whose primary care providers were gynecologists were also significantly more likely to have Pap-smears compared to other specialties (P < 0.0001). Patients younger than 21 years or older than 65 years underwent screening less frequently (11% and 11%, respectively) than those 21-64 years (41%, P < 0.0001). Race, ethnicity, language, and insurance status were not associated with Pap-smear screening rates. CONCLUSION Patient health literacy and primary care physician were associated with Pap-smear utilization. Development of interventions to target low health literacy populations could improve cervical cancer screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-413
Number of pages8
JournalWorld Journal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 10 2016


  • Cervical cancer
  • Health literacy
  • Pap-smear
  • Prevention
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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