A literature review: Cervical Cancer Screening Among Immigrant Women in Canada

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Wagner, Camille
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Introduction: The introduction of Pap test screening programs in Canada has resulted in a decrease in the incidence of cervical cancer and cervical cancer-related deaths (1). Despite screening programs and a universally available health care program, immigrant women in Canada are at a higher risk of being under-screened for cervical cancer compared to Canadian-born women (2). Objective: The purpose of this literature review is to understand the factors related to Canadian immigrant women’s lower participation in cervical cancer screening programs, with the aim to develop recommendations to increase immigrant women’s cervical cancer screening rate. Methods: A literature search using PubMed, Scopus, and CINAHL databases were performed using key terms pertaining to cervical cancer screening among immigrant women in Canada. Six primary research articles were found to meet the inclusion criteria and were analyzed in this literature review. Results: Six studies explored the factors related to Canadian immigrant women’s participation in cervical cancer screening programs through multivariate regression analysis. These studies identified that decreased screening rates were related to factors in four main areas: socioeconomic status, access to a primary care physician, age, and country of origin. Conclusion: The four main factors identified as relating to Canadian immigrant women’s participation in cervical cancer screening include having access to a primary care physician, lower socioeconomic status, older age, and being a visible minority or originating from South Asian, Middle Eastern or North African regions. Interventions to improve screening program participation may include ensuring immigrant women have access to a primary care provider, with consideration that this access could be extended to more women through the utilization of physician assistants. Additionally, efforts to make women more aware of screening guidelines and make screening more readily accessible may target those immigrant women who have been identified as being under-screened, namely those of lower socioeconomic status, and older age.
physician assistant