Journal of Community Health

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 89–105 | Cite as

Perceptions of cervical cancer and pap smear screening behavior by women's sexual orientation

  • James H. Price
  • Alyssa N. Easton
  • Susan K. Telljohann
  • Patricia B. Wallace
Articles

Abstract

This study examined 330 adult females' perceptions and practices regarding cervical cancer by sexual orientation. Ninety-four percent of the respondents were unable to correctly identify all 5 risk factors associated with increased risk for cervical cancer (smoking, sexual intercourse with men, multiple male sexual partners, sexual intercourse before age 16, and having genital warts) regardless of sexual orientation. Furthermore, 20% were not able to identify any of the 5 risk factors for cervical cancer. Lesbians perceived themselves to be less susceptible to cervical cancer than heterosexuals or bisexuals even though 79% of lesbians had sexual intercourse with a male. Eight percent of the respondents believed that most women who develop cervical cancer die from the disease. The main barriers identified by non-regular Pap screeners (N = 127) were: no health insurance (33%), forgetting to get a pap test (32%), and not liking to get a Pap test (31%). Three-fourths (75%) have had a Pap test within the last 2 years and planned to continue having them on a regular basis. The results of this survey indicate that there is considerable room for improvement in knowledge, perceptions, and practices of all women, regardless of sexual orientation, regarding cervical cancer.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Kurman RJ, Henson DE, Herbst AL, Noller KL, Schiffman MH. Interim guidelines for management of abnormal cervical cytology.JAMA 1994; 271: 1866–1869.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Wingo PA, Tong T, Beiden S. Cancer statistics, 1995.Ca. 1995; 45: 8–30.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Shelton D, Paturzo D, Flannery J, Gregorio D. Race, stage of disease, and survival with cervical cancer.Ethnicity Dis. 1992; 2: 47–54.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Eddy DM. Screening for cervical cancer.Ann Intern Med. 1990; 113: 214–226.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Brinton LA, Fraumeni FJ. Epidemiology of uterine cervical cancer.J Chronic Dis. 1986; 39: 1051–1065.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Graham CA. Cervix cancer prevention and detection update.Sem Oncology Nurs. 1993; 9: 155–162.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lovejoy NC, Anastasi JK. Squamous cell cervical lesions in women with and without AIDS.Cancer Nurs. 1994; 17: 294–307.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Calle EE, Flanders D, Thun MJ, Martin LM. Demographic predictors of mammography and pap smear screening in U.S. women.Am J Public Health 1993; 83: 53–60.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Robertson P, Schachter J. Failure to identify veneral disease in a lesbian population.Sex Transm Dis. 1981; 8: 16–17.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Johnson SR, Smith EM, Guenther SM. Comparison of gynecologic health care problems between lesbians and bisexual women-a survey of 2,345 women.J Reprod Med. 1987; 32: 805–811.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    National Lesbian and Gay Health Foundation. National lesbian health care survey. NLGHF, Atlanta, Georgia 1984.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hueston WJ, Stiles MA. The Papanicolaou smear as a sentinel screening test for health screening in women.Arch Intern Med. 1994; 154: 1473–1477.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Stevens PE. Lesbian health care research: A review of the literature from 1970 to 1990.Health Care Women International 1992; 13: 91–120.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    National Women's Mailing List. 1313 Muniz Ranch Road, Jenver, CA 95450.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    U.S. Bureau of the Census.Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1994 (114th ed.). Washington, DC, 1994, pgs. 157–158.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Trippet SE, Bain J. Physical health problems and concerns of lesbians.Women and Health 1993; 20(2): 59–70.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Olds SB, London ML, Ladewig PW.Maternal-Newborn Nursing: A Family-Centered Approach. Redwood City, CA: Addison-Wesley, 1992 (4th ed.)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Kreuter MW, Strecher VJ, Harris R, Kobrin SC, Skinner CS. Are patients of women physicians screened more aggressively?J Gen Intern Med 1995; 10:119–125.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lewis D, Mitchell H. An evaluation of cervical screening in general practice.Med J Australia 1994; 160: 628–632.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hennig P, Knowled A. Factors influencing women over 40 years to take precautions against cervical cancer.J Appl Soc Psych 1990; 20: 1612–1621.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Bailie R, Petrie K. Women's attitudes to cervical smear testing.NZ Med J 1990; 103: 293–295.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Walter SD, Clarke EA, Hatcher J, Stitt LW. A comparison of physician and patient reports of Pap smear histories.Clin Epidemiol 1988; 41: 401–410.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Bowman JA, Dickinson JA, Sanson-Fisher RW. The accuracy of Pap smear utilization self-report: A methodological consideration in cervical screening research.Health Serv Res 1991; 26: 97–107.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • James H. Price
    • 1
  • Alyssa N. Easton
    • 1
  • Susan K. Telljohann
    • 1
  • Patricia B. Wallace
    • 1
  1. 1.Mercy College of Northwest OhioToledo

Personalised recommendations