Disparities in cervical cancer screening participation in Iran: a cross-sectional analysis of the 2016 nationwide STEPS survey

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BMC Public Health. 2020 Oct 22;20(1):1594. doi: 10.1186/s12889-020-09705-2.


BACKGROUND: One of the most important concerns in every healthcare system is the elimination of disparities in health service utilization and achievement of health equity. This study aimed to investigate the disparities in cervical cancer screening participation in Iran.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted using data from the National Non-Communicable Risk Factors Survey in 2016 (STEPs 2016). Data on cervical cancer screening in addition to demographic and socio-economic factors from 15,975 women aged 18 and above were analyzed. The distribution of surveyed women with regard to cervical cancer screening practice was described. Chi square and logistic regression were used to assess the association of demographic and socio-economic factors with cervical cancer screening participation.

RESULTS: Overall, 52.1% of women aged 30-59 years, had undergone cervical cancer screening at least once in their lifetime. Participation rate in cervical cancer screening programs varied between provinces; ranging from 7.6% in Sistan and Baluchestan to 61.2% in Isfahan. Single marital status, illiteracy, being employed, and having no insurance coverage were associated with lower participation. Age and area of residence were insignificant predictors for participating in cervical cancer screening program. Analysis of the cervical cancer uptake rates across the socio-economic levels revealed that the service is less utilised by high income groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Participation in cervical cancer screening program in Iran is not optimal and could be improved. With regard to the distribution of cervical cancer screening practice, social and geographical disparities indicate the need for further research and more comprehensive strategies in order to reduce them.

PMID:33092559 | DOI:10.1186/s12889-020-09705-2