, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 121-131
Date: 18 Jun 2010

Examining Barriers to Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment in Florida through a Socio-Ecological Lens

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Cervical cancer incidence and mortality have declined in the U.S. over the past 50 years because of broad screening efforts; however, some states continue to bear a greater burden due to under-screened and -treated populations. The purpose of this study was to utilize the socio-ecological model to examine barriers to cervical cancer screening and treatment in Florida. A qualitative semi-structured interview guide was used to conduct telephone interviews with 21 purposively sampled health care professionals from 13 high-risk counties. Interviews were transcribed and coded using themes identified a priori based on levels of the socio-ecological model. Investigators identified barriers to cervical cancer screening and treatment in Florida across four levels: (1) regulations and funding issues at the policy level are inconsistent between federal, state and local levels; (2) community level barriers range from cultural differences and fear of deportation, to transportation issues; (3) institutional level barriers complicate the administration of screening and treatment services; and (4) individual beliefs, behaviors, and stressors due to poverty hinder women’s ability to access services. Many of our findings are consistent with previous studies that identified constraints to screening and treatment of cervical cancer, such as poverty and lack of access to care. This study adds to the literature by examining barriers from the viewpoint of service providers and program coordinators, and through the utilization of the socio-ecological model to provide a comprehensive framework for identifying and understanding these challenges.