Health education to increase screening for cervical cancer among Lumbee Indian women in North Carolina

M B Dignan, R Michielutte, H B Wells, P Sharp, K Blinson, L D Case, R Bell, J Konen, S Davis, R P McQuellon
Health Education Research 1998, 13 (4): 545-56
Although age-adjusted mortality rates from cancer among Native-Americans are generally lower than for the US population as a whole, cervical cancer mortality rates are higher. This report presents results from a National Cancer Institute-funded health education program conducted among the Lumbee tribe in North Carolina that was designed to increase the proportion of women, age 18 and older, who receive Pap smears to screen for cervical cancer. The Solomon Four Group research design was used for this project. Participants were selected at random from the enrollment records of the Lumbee tribe and data collection was carried out during face-to-face interviews. The health education program was provided one-on-one in women's homes by a trained lay health educator and included verbal, print and videotape information. A total of 979 women were enrolled in the study, and 125 were lost to follow-up between the pre-test and post-test. Women who received the education program were found to be more likely to have knowledge of the Pap smear and to report a Pap smear in the past year at the post-test than those in the control group, regardless of whether they received the pre-test interview, P < 0.05. Women most likely to respond to the education program were also likely to have reported that they receive an annual physical examination. Women with better knowledge of the Pap smear tended to have more education, higher income and greater identification with Native-American culture than those with less knowledge. We conclude that the health education program was associated with greater knowledge about cervical cancer prevention and higher proportions of Lumbee women obtaining Pap smears in the past year.

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