Examining Race and Socioeconomic Status as Predictors of Cervical Cancer Screening and Human Papillomavirus Vaccination in Women

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More than 4,000 women die from cervical cancer annually, even though 93% of cervical cancers are preventable with HPV screenings and vaccinations (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2020). In 2012, women ages 21 to 65 in the United States reported they had not been screened for cervical cancer (CDC, 2020). This study aimed to examine the relationships of between ethnicity/race, income, education, HPV screening, and HPV vaccine uptake of cervical cancer. The 2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data were used to determine if there was a significant relationship between sociodemographic factors, specifically race, ethnicity, household income, and education, with disparities in HPV screenings and vaccines among women. A cross-sectional research design was utilized. The study revealed a significant relationship between HPV screening across race/ethnicity categories, income level, and education. The findings showed a significant relationship between HPV screening across race/ethnicity categories (H (5) = 43.846, p <.001), within income levels (X2(1) =12.077, p <.001), and for educational attainment (X2(1) = 52.220, p < .001). There also was a significant relationship between HPV vaccination across race/ethnicity categories (H (5) = 36.367, p <.0010), income level (X2(1) = 2.145, p >.143), and education (X2(1) = 14.490, p <.001). The findings from this study are beneficial in identifying the disparities among women residing in underserved communities for cervical cancer screenings and acquiring the HPV vaccination series. This study demonstrates that race/ethnicity, income, and education may be factors that make a woman more susceptible to cervical cancer. Therefore, health educators must be conscious of a community's cultural background and its impacts when addressing the disparities in HPV vaccine uptake and cervical cancer screenings. It is vital for public health and healthcare professionals to implement more efforts to promote HPV screening and HPV vaccination at the state and national levels to decrease cervical cancer incidence.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Public Health
Public Health, Health Education, Women's Studies