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Barriers to cervical cancer screening: A qualitative study with women in Serbia

  • Economics
  • Education
  • Medicine


Serbia employs opportunistic approaches to cervical cancer screening, leading to inequitable health care access. To better understand the health care needs of women, we investigated their knowledge of and perceived barriers to cervical cancer screening. Data reported in the paper arise from nine focus group discussions with 62 women from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. They were recruited in two cities with contrasting social settings, Belgrade, the Serbian capital, and a regional town, Smederevo. Thematic analysis identified that the interplay of social and personal barriers influenced women's poor presentation for screening. Inadequate public health education, lack of patient-friendly health services, socio-cultural health beliefs, gender roles, and personal difficulties were the most salient barriers to screening. We suggest how within the context of opportunistic screening patient education may be employed. The introduction of compulsory cervical cancer screening, suggested by some participants, is also discussed.

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