Exploring women's knowledge, experiences and perceptions of cervical cancer screening in an area of social deprivation

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Abstract

Despite the strong evidence that cervical screening does save lives, evidence suggests that the uptake for cervical screening for women from socially deprived areas still remains low. A qualitative approach using four focus groups was undertaken with 48 women living in socially deprived areas who had accessed a mobile screening unit to receive cervical screening. Analysis of the data was undertaken using thematic content analysis. The women's knowledge of cervical cancer including associated risks, and preventative factors were extremely limited. The women expressed a negative attitude towards their experiences of cervical screening, describing negative feelings of ‘fear’, ‘embarrassment’ and feeling ‘stigmatised’. Practical issues such as the timing of the appointments, issues of time and having to find child care were identified as the main barriers to screening for this group. This study highlights that practices and beliefs about screening are variable and access to health care is poorly tailored to meet the needs of the socially deprived. There is a need for accessible targeted information and strategies in order to enhance knowledge and awareness of cervical cancer and screening for women living in socially deprived areas.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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