Masters Thesis

Cervical Cancer Health Disparities and Continuity of Care among Hispanic Women

Understanding modifiable risk factors is a critical step towards developing ethnoracially sensitive, targeted prevention efforts aimed at reducing cervical cancer incidence and mortality among Hispanic women. Existing theoretical/conceptual models of health disparities are limited by lack of specificity and failure to consider unique challenges associated with each ethnoracial group, as well as unique demands, stigma, or contexts associated with specific diseases. Using a combination of theoretical models, this review attempts to propose a comprehensive model of cervical cancer health disparities among Hispanic women that includes disease- and population-specific risk factors as related to primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of the disease. Several aspects of Hispanic culture and experiences appear to be significantly impacting Hispanic women’s cervical cancer preventive practices, diagnosis disclosure and post-diagnosis social support seeking. Cultural phenomena such as marianismo, an emphasis on chastity, fatalismo, and familismo along with other factors such as immigration status, language barriers, health insurance status, and social isolation appear to be important in identifying causes and correlates of observed cervical cancer health disparities and treatment. Several possible points of culturally sensitive intervention are identified to ameliorate cervical cancer health disparities among Hispanic women.

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