Cervical Cancer Control Research in Vietnamese American Communities
Census data show that the U.S. Vietnamese population now exceeds 1,250,000. Cervical cancer among Vietnamese American women has been identified as an important health disparity. Available data indicate the cervical cancer disparity may be due to low Papanicolaou (Pap) testing rates rather than variations in human papillomavirus infection rates and/or types. The cervical cancer incidence rates among Vietnamese and non-Latina White women in California during 2000 to 2002 were 14.0 and 7.3 per 100,000, respectively. Only 70% of Vietnamese women who participated in the 2003 California Health Interview Survey reported a recent Pap smear compared with 84% of non-Latina White women. Higher levels of cervical cancer screening participation among Vietnamese women are strongly associated with current/previous marriage, having a usual source of care/doctor, and previous physician recommendation. Vietnamese language media campaigns and lay health worker intervention programs have been effective in increasing Pap smear use in Vietnamese American communities. Cervical cancer control programs for Vietnamese women should address knowledge deficits, enable women who are without a usual source of care to find a primary care doctor, and improve patient-provider communication by encouraging health-care providers to recommend Pap testing as well as by empowering women to ask for testing.