Cervical screening of Arabic-speaking women in Australian general practice

Margaret Lesjak, Jeanette Ward, Chris Rissel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Objective - To determine recency and predictors of cervical screening among Arabic-speaking women in Sydney, Australia. Method - A consecutive sample of Arabic-speaking women, attending 20 Arabic-speaking general practitioners, was asked to complete a self administered health risk questionnaire available in Arabic or English which included three questions about cervical screening knowledge and behaviour. Results - Of 756 eligible women, 526 (70%) returned completed questionnaires. Of these 69 (13%) did not know what a cervical smear was. Sixteen per cent of overseas-born compared with 2% of Australian-born women at risk had not heard of a cervical smear. Women were defined as being at risk of cervical cancer if they had both been married and not had a hysterectomy. Of 318 women at risk for cervical cancer who knew what a cervical smear was, 66% had had a smear in the last two years, a further 7% were attending for one that day while 11% had not had a smear for at least two yars, 9% had never had one and 7% did not answer/could not remember. Religion, age, and residence in Australia for more than 10 years were significant and independent predictors of screening after adjustment for other variables in a simultaneous logistic regression model (P = 0.002, P = 0.002, and P = 0.040 respectively). Muslim women and older women were more likely to be underscreened, and women with more than 10 years' residence in Australia were more likely to have been screened in the last two years. Acculturation, smoking status, health status, duration of relationship with participating doctor, and chronic disease were not significant predictors of a recent smear. Conclusion - As only 73% of women at risk had been screened in the last to years, including women attending on the day, and 9% had never been screened, Arabic-speaking women should be a priority for public campaigns, particularly Muslim and older women. Studies to evaluate the effectiveness and acceptability of reminders by ethnic general practitioners are recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-111
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Medical Screening
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Cervical smear
  • Ethnic health
  • General practice


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