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More Chinese-American women get screened for cervical cancer if encouraged by direct mail, home visits, PHS study indicates

May 16, 2002

Direct mail and home visits by outreach workers can encourage participation in cervical-cancer screening among Chinese-American women, says a study by Dr. Vicky Taylor of the Public Health Sciences Division.

Such interventions could be incorporated into the ongoing activities of the U.S. Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program, Taylor said. They could also help reduce racial and ethnic health disparities associated with poor use of screening. The findings appear in the May 1 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Chinese-American women have had higher rates of cervical cancer than the general North American population. While studies have shown that considerably fewer Chinese-American women participate in cervical screening than women of other population subgroups, few studies have looked at the effectiveness of Pap screening interventions on this population.

In the new study, Taylor and colleagues in PHS, as well as Seattle's Harborview Medical Center and the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Vancouver, B.C., assigned 402 Chinese-American women into three groups. One group received educational materials though home visits by Chinese outreach workers, one group received the materials via direct mail, and one received no intervention.

All of the women had not had Pap testing in the last two years and/or did not intend to have a Pap test in the next two years. Intervention materials included a video, motivational pamphlet and fact sheets in both Chinese and English.

After six months, 39 percent of the women in the outreach group reported having undergone Pap screening compared with 25 percent of the women in the direct-mailing group and 15 percent of the women in the intervention-free group.

The authors concluded that both interventions were effective in changing cervical-cancer screening behavior among Chinese women in North America. The authors noted that the study was limited to women in Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. Because the acceptability and effectiveness of interventions may vary among Chinese communities and/or health-care systems in North America, the authors suggested that the interventions be evaluated among Chinese women in other areas of North America.

- Journal of the National Cancer Institute

 

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