Comprehensive Cancer Screening among Unmarried Women Aged 40-75 Years: Results from the Cancer Screening Project for Women

Department of Community Health, Brown University Warren Alpert School of Medicine and Program in Public Health, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA.
Journal of Women's Health (Impact Factor: 2.05). 05/2009; 18(4):451-9. DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2008.1046
Source: PubMed


We explored self-reported rates of individual on-schedule breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screenings, as well as an aggregate measure of comprehensive screenings, among unmarried women aged 40-75 years. We compared women who partner with women (WPW) or with women and men (WPWM) to women who partner exclusively with men (WPM). We also compared barriers to on-schedule cancer screenings between WPW/WPWM and WPM.
Comparable targeted and respondent-driven sampling methods were used to enroll 213 WPW/WPWM and 417 WPM (n = 630). Logistic regression models were computed to determine if partner gender was associated with each measure of on-schedule screening after controlling for demographic characteristics, health behaviors, and cancer-related experiences.
Overall, 74.3% of women reported on-schedule breast screening, 78.3% reported on-schedule cervical screening, 66.5% reported on-schedule colorectal screening, and 56.7% reported being on-schedule for comprehensive screening. Partner gender was not associated with any of the measures of on-schedule screening in multivariable analyses. However, women who reported ever putting off, avoiding, or changing the place of screenings because of sexual orientation were less likely to be on-schedule for comprehensive screening. Women who reported barriers associated with taking time from work and body image concerns were also less likely to be on-schedule for comprehensive screening.
Barriers to cancer screening were comparable across types of examinations as well as between WPW/WPWM and WPM. Developing health promotion programs for unmarried women that address concomitant detection and prevention behaviors may improve the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare delivery and ultimately assist in reducing multiple disease risks.

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