Skip to main content
placeholder image

Lesbians' attitudes and practices of cervical cancer screening: A qualitative study

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Background: Cervical cancer is the third most prevalent cancer in women, and since the introduction of the Papanicolaou test (Pap test or Pap smear), the incidence of cervical cancer and mortality rates worldwide have declined substantially. However significant disparities have been identified between the cervical screening rates of heterosexual and lesbian women. This study explores the attitudes and practices that lesbians have towards cervical cancer screening and aims to identify why such disparities occur. Methods: A qualitative methodology based on feminist perspectives was used to collect narrative data from lesbians about their attitudes and practices of cervical screening through the use of semi structured interviews. Nine women who self-identified as lesbian that were living in New South Wales were recruited for the study. Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using a thematic analysis approach. Results: Four main themes emerged from the data namely: Encountering cervical cancer: my friends had some early cancer cells detected, Misconceptions related to risk: I am a lesbian I don't need one, Imposed screening: It's a requirement of IVF treatment and, Promoting cervical screening: I think it should be spoken about in schools. Conclusions: Consistent with the literature, the findings show that the majority of these women do not undertake cervical screening at the recommended rate. This study highlights the multiple and complex issues related to cervical cancer screening for lesbians, mainly through misconceptions and underestimation of risk. Specific and targeted educational and promotional strategies are required for both lesbians and health professionals to enhance cervical cancer screening rates for lesbians in Australia.

Publication Date


  • 2014

Citation


  • Curmi, C., Peters, K., & Salamonson, Y. (2014). Lesbians' attitudes and practices of cervical cancer screening: A qualitative study. BMC Women's Health, 14(1). doi:10.1186/s12905-014-0153-2

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84928388645

Web Of Science Accession Number


Volume


  • 14

Issue


  • 1

Place Of Publication


Abstract


  • Background: Cervical cancer is the third most prevalent cancer in women, and since the introduction of the Papanicolaou test (Pap test or Pap smear), the incidence of cervical cancer and mortality rates worldwide have declined substantially. However significant disparities have been identified between the cervical screening rates of heterosexual and lesbian women. This study explores the attitudes and practices that lesbians have towards cervical cancer screening and aims to identify why such disparities occur. Methods: A qualitative methodology based on feminist perspectives was used to collect narrative data from lesbians about their attitudes and practices of cervical screening through the use of semi structured interviews. Nine women who self-identified as lesbian that were living in New South Wales were recruited for the study. Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using a thematic analysis approach. Results: Four main themes emerged from the data namely: Encountering cervical cancer: my friends had some early cancer cells detected, Misconceptions related to risk: I am a lesbian I don't need one, Imposed screening: It's a requirement of IVF treatment and, Promoting cervical screening: I think it should be spoken about in schools. Conclusions: Consistent with the literature, the findings show that the majority of these women do not undertake cervical screening at the recommended rate. This study highlights the multiple and complex issues related to cervical cancer screening for lesbians, mainly through misconceptions and underestimation of risk. Specific and targeted educational and promotional strategies are required for both lesbians and health professionals to enhance cervical cancer screening rates for lesbians in Australia.

Publication Date


  • 2014

Citation


  • Curmi, C., Peters, K., & Salamonson, Y. (2014). Lesbians' attitudes and practices of cervical cancer screening: A qualitative study. BMC Women's Health, 14(1). doi:10.1186/s12905-014-0153-2

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84928388645

Web Of Science Accession Number


Volume


  • 14

Issue


  • 1

Place Of Publication