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Knowledge about Cervical Cancer Risk Factors, Traditional Health Beliefs, and Pap Testing Among Vietnamese American Women

Abstract

Introduction: The objective of this paper was to examine knowledge about cervical cancer risk factors and traditional health beliefs in relation to Papanicolaou (Pap) testing among Vietnamese women.

Methods: A population-based survey was conducted in Seattle (n<352, response rate=82%) during 2002.

Results: The proportions of women who knew that older age, not getting regular Pap tests, and Vietnamese ethnicity are associated with an elevated cervical cancer risk were only 53%, 62%, and 23%, respectively. The majority (87%) incorrectly believed poor women’s hygiene is a risk factor for cervical cancer. Approximately two-thirds (68%) of the women had received a Pap test during the preceding three years. Knowing that lack of Pap testing increases the risk of cervical cancer was strongly associated (p<0.001) with recent Pap smear receipt.

Conclusion: Our results confirm that Vietnamese women have lower levels of cervical cancer screening than non-Latina white women. Intervention programs addressing Pap testing in Vietnamese communities should recognize women’s traditional beliefs while encouraging them to adopt biomedical preventive measures into their daily lives.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by grant CA82326 and cooperative agreement CA114640 from the National Cancer Institute. We would like to thank our Vietnamese community coalition, the organizations they represent, and the Vietnamese survey interviewers for their support and outstanding work.

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Correspondence to H. Hoai Do.

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Do, H.H., Taylor, V.M., Burke, N. et al. Knowledge about Cervical Cancer Risk Factors, Traditional Health Beliefs, and Pap Testing Among Vietnamese American Women. J Immigrant Health 9, 109–114 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-006-9025-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-006-9025-7

Keywords

  • Pap testing
  • Cervical cancer risk factors
  • Traditional health beliefs
  • Vietnamese Americans