Barriers to cervical cancer screening faced by immigrant women in Canada: a systematic scoping review

Abstract Background The objective of this scoping study is to review the published literature and summarize findings related to barriers experienced by immigrant women in Canada while accessing cervical cancer screening. Methods Electronic databases of peer-reviewed articles and grey literature were searched using comprehensive sets of keywords, without restricting the time period or language. Articles were selected based on the following criteria: (a) the study population consisted of Canadian immigrant women and healthcare providers and other stakeholders serving immigrant women, (b) the research focused on the barriers to accessing cervical cancer screening, and (c) the study was conducted in Canada. Results Extracted data were grouped and analyzed, resulting in barriers comprised of six themes: economic barriers, cultural barriers, language barriers, healthcare system-related barriers, knowledge-related barriers, and individual-level barriers. Lack of education, low income, preference for a female physician, lack of knowledge, lack of effective communication, and embarrassment were some of the most common barriers mentioned. Conclusions Immigrant access to health services, including cervical cancer screening, is a complex issue concerning a wide range of barriers. Our findings offer insights into barriers to cervical cancer screening in immigrant communities in Canada that can be used to assist policymakers, healthcare providers, and researchers enhance the health and well-being of these populations by mitigating barriers and improving screening.
BMC Women's Health. 2018 Oct 11;18(1):165