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Barriers to cervical screening among older women from hard-to-reach groups: a qualitative study in England

Marlow, L; McBride, E; Varnes, L; Waller, J; (2019) Barriers to cervical screening among older women from hard-to-reach groups: a qualitative study in England. BMC Womens Health , 19 (1) , Article 38. 10.1186/s12905-019-0736-z. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Cervical screening attendance among 50-64 year-olds is suboptimal. Understanding attitudes to screening and reasons for non-attendance in older women will help to identify the content of interventions for this age group. This study aimed to explore barriers to cervical screening among women aged 50-64 years from hard-to-reach groups whose perspectives are often absent from research on cervical screening but are critical to developing appropriate interventions to increase engagement with the screening offer. METHODS: Qualitative methodology was used. Six focus groups were carried out with women aged 50-64 years from lower socio-economic and ethnic minority backgrounds (n = 38). Focus group discussions were recorded, transcribed verbatim and translated where necessary. Data were analysed using the Framework Approach, a type of thematic analysis. RESULTS: All women had heard of cervical screening, but many felt they had poor knowledge. Women's reasons for non-attendance were wide-ranging and included discomfort and embarrassment, negative perceptions of health professionals, worry and trust in the results, concern about the procedure, idiosyncratic beliefs, and extreme negative experiences. Some women reported not receiving letters or prompts to be screened. CONCLUSIONS: Information designed specifically for older women should ensure they understand the purpose of screening and its relevance to them. Emphasising changes to the programme that have made the experience less uncomfortable, and improved sample taker awareness of how women feel, may help to allay concerns related to previous negative experiences.

Type: Article
Title: Barriers to cervical screening among older women from hard-to-reach groups: a qualitative study in England
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12905-019-0736-z
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-019-0736-z
Language: English
Additional information: Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10069659
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