Cervical Cancer Screening Among Refugee Populations in Tarrant County




Liang, Lai Y.
Raines-Milenkov, Amy
Qualls-Hampton, Raquel Y.
Baker, Eva


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Cervical cancer is the second most common cause of cancer mortality among women, with most cancer deaths among women of developing countries. It is also the most easily preventable cancer in women. This study evaluates cervical cancer screening practices among several refugee populations in Tarrant County: Burmese, Bhutanese, Somalian, and Congolese. Many factors influence participation in cervical cancer screening among refugee women. Such factors include knowledge about cervical cancer, cultural beliefs, financial concerns, access to health care, physician characteristics, and time in the United States. The study aimed to investigate the impact of time in the United States on cervical cancer screening. Data for this study were obtained from a project called the Building Bridges Initiative. As part of this program, trained refugee Lay Health Educators reached out to refugee women in their communities with education and assistance in receiving cervical, breast, and Hepatitis B screenings. The Lay Health Educators consented and interviewed women who met the inclusion criteria during the baseline assessment. For the purposes of this study, the following baseline questions were examined: “Have you had a Pap test?” and “What was the date of your last Pap test?” in addition to demographic information and time of arrival in the United States. The association of arrival in the United States and screening, as well as qualitative data from comments shared during the group education sessions are presented to illustrate barriers to screening. Rates of cervical cancer screening among refugee populations are far below that of the recommended rate in the United States as outlined by Healthy People 2020. Therefore, refugee populations in the Unites States, especially when resettling from countries with a high incidence of cervical cancer, are in need of culturally and linguistically tailored cancer education prevention and intervention programs.