Nadia Bartholomew, MPH 2011
Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer worldwide in women, yet the cervical screening test is able to detect precancerous cells, improving the prognosis for women. Internationally Muslim women have been found to have poor uptake of cervical screening. This study, therefore, aimed to explore Muslim women's experiences of and attitudes towards cervical screening. Utilizing snowball sampling, eight first-generation immigrant Pakistani Muslim women were recruited to participate in in-depth interviews. Thematic analysis of the interviews revealed two major themes. These were moving from a collectivist to an individualist society and the influence of acculturation. The influence of the community played an important role in the women's perceptions of cervical screening and the findings from this dissertation suggest that their engagement in promoting cervical screening will enable women to identify with the messages. Findings also revealed that the cultural awareness of the health professional impacted on the doctor-patient relationship and therefore the women's understanding of cervical screening. Improving cultural awareness of health professionals is therefore important. Further research is also recommended which would involve Muslims of various ethnicities and from different generations to inform the National Cervical Screening Programme with the aim of improving the service for this overlooked group.