Awareness of and attitudes towards cervical cancer prevention among migrant Eastern European women in England
journal contributionposted on 09.11.2020, 09:56 by Hersha Patel, Susan M. Sherman, Douglas Tincello, Esther L. Moss
It has been hypothesized that, in England, the rise in incidence of cervical cancer and the fall in screening coverage might be attributable in part to the effect of migration of Eastern European born women. We explored the attitudes and behaviours of these women towards cervical cancer prevention strategies.
A mixed methods study using quantitative surveys and in-depth semi-structured qualitative interviews was conducted between April 2015 and December 2016.
In total, 331 surveys and 46 interviews were completed. Native English women had greater knowledge that a smear test is a screening test for pre-cancerous cervical cells (90% vs. 71% p≤0.01), whereas migrant Eastern European women believed that it was conducted as part of a full gynaecological examination (46% vs. 21% p≤0.01) and that the screen interval was annual (18% vs. 4% p≤0.01). Distrust of the English healthcare system resulted in some Eastern European women returning to their country of birth for screening. Poor awareness of cervical cancer prior to migration and lack of information at registration with a general practitioner in England were associated with failure to participate in screening.
The views and attitudes expressed by the migrant Eastern European women in this study suggest that they are not fully participating in cervical screening in England. Targeted education at the point of contact with healthcare services in England is needed to increase cervical screening participation among these women.