Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 417–423 | Cite as

Health Beliefs Associated with the Follow-Up of Pap Smear Abnormalities Among Low-Income Women in Medellín, Colombia

  • Isabel Cristina Garcés-Palacio
  • Sara Milena Ramos-Jaraba
  • Diana Carolina Rubio-León


The purpose of the study was to explore variables of the health belief model in relation to the follow-up of abnormal Pap smear among low-income women in Medellín, Colombia. Eight focus groups (62 women) were conducted according to age groups (25–45 and 46–69 years). The data were analyzed using content analysis. The participants perceived themselves as vulnerable, recognized the severity of the disease in terms of both its emotional and physical consequences, perceived the benefits of the follow-up, and mentioned cues to action, such as social support and the support of health entities. Perceived self-efficacy was compromised by health system barriers and by personal barriers, such as placing the needs of their children ahead of their own, fear, neglect, and the pain caused by the diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Health education activities aimed at increasing the follow-up of abnormal Pap smears should consider psychological factors.


Follow-up Pap smear Health belief model Health education 



We thank to the Teaching Support Fund of the Faculty of Public Health and to the Strategy of Sustainability 2013–2014 of the University of Antioquia for financing the study, to Metrosalud for permission to conduct the research, and to the women who participated for sharing their experiences.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The study was approved by the ethics committee of the School of Public Health of Universidad de Antioquia (University of Antioquia).


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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabel Cristina Garcés-Palacio
    • 1
  • Sara Milena Ramos-Jaraba
    • 1
  • Diana Carolina Rubio-León
    • 2
  1. 1.Grupo de Epidemiologia, Facultad Nacional de Salud PúblicaUniversidad de Antioquia UdeAMedellínColombia
  2. 2.Facultad de MedicinaUniversidad El BosqueMedellínColombia

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