Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 255–261 | Cite as

Reversal of Associations Between Spanish Language Use and Mammography and Pap Smear Testing

  • Gita Suneja
  • Joseph A. DiazEmail author
  • Mary Roberts
  • William Rakowski
Original Paper


Latina women are less likely to utilize cancer screening services than are non-Latina White women. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between preferred language (English vs. Spanish) and receipt of mammography and Pap-smear testing among US Latinas and non-Latinas. Cross-sectional analysis of the 2008 and 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys. While Latinas responding to the BRFSS in English or in Spanish had unadjusted lower odds of receiving mammography testing, in multivariable analysis Latinas responding-in-Spanish had 2.20 times the odds (OR = 2.20, 95 % CI, 1.90–2.55) of reporting mammography compared to non-Latinas. Similarly, Latinas responding-in- Spanish had lower unadjusted odds of receiving Pap-smear testing. However, Latinas responding-in-Spanish had 2.37 times the odds (OR = 2.37 CI, 2.04–2.75) of reporting having received Pap smear testing compared to non-Latinas in multivariate analysis. The results of this paper further confirm the “reversed associations” among Latinas and mammography and Pap smear testing described in previous studies and suggest that in addition to insurance status, preferred language may be a key variable contributing to the reversal phenomenon observed among Latinas.


Hispanic Americans Mammography Papanicolaou test Healthcare disparities Language 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gita Suneja
    • 1
  • Joseph A. Diaz
    • 2
    Email author
  • Mary Roberts
    • 2
  • William Rakowski
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Radiation OncologyThe University of Pennsylvania Health SystemPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Center for Primary Care and PreventionMemorial Hospital of Rhode IslandPawtucketUSA
  3. 3.Department of Public HealthBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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