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A population survey on beliefs around cervical cancer screening: determining the barriers and facilitators associated with attendance

  • Judah, G
  • Faisal, D
  • Ara, D
  • Huf, S
Publication Date
Apr 08, 2022
Spiral - Imperial College Digital Repository
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Background: Cervical screening saves approximately 5000 lives annually in England. However, screening rates have been falling continuously, and coverage in London is particularly low (64.7%). While demographic predictors of uptake have been well researched, there has been less thorough investigation of the individual barriers and facilitators which predict cervical screening attendance. Understanding modifiable factors influencing attendance can guide the design of effective interventions to increase cervical screening uptake. The aim of this study was to understand the demographic, and individual factors associated with self-reported attendance at cervical screening in London. Methods: The study used an online survey of 500 women in London (June-July 2017). The survey included self-reported measures of past attendance, demographic variables (including age, household income, ethnicity), past experience variables, and individual variables (list of potential barriers and facilitators developed based on the Theoretical Domains Framework and existing literature, which included: environmental context and resources, perceived risk, anticipated pain/embarrassment). Participants were categorised into regular attenders and non-regular attenders. Backwards stepwise logistic regression investigated the barriers and facilitators predicting past attendance. Demographic variables with significant differences between regular and non-regular attenders were added to the final regression model. Results: Of women who had previously been invited (n = 461, age range: 25–65), 34.5% (n = 159) were classified as non-regular attenders, and 65.5% (n = 302) as regular attenders. The individual barriers and facilitators predicting attendance were: cervical screening priority, memory, environmental context and resources, and intention. The only demographic variables related to regular attendance were relationship status (married/civil partnership having higher rates than single) and higher household income. Relationship status was not significant when adjusting for barriers and facilitators. Those who have ever been sexually active or who have had an STI in the past were significantly more likely to be regular attenders. Conclusions: The study shows the importance of individual barriers and facilitators in predicting self-reported cervical screening attendance. Household income was the only significant demographic variable when combined with the individual variables. Interventions targeting priority, memory, and practical barriers affecting environmental context may be expected to be effective an increasing attendance.

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