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Open Access Research article

Factors associated with cervical cancer screening uptake among Inuit women in Nunavik, Quebec, Canada

Helen Cerigo1, Francois Coutlée35, Eduardo L Franco23 and Paul Brassard124*

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Clinical Epidemiology, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Canada

2 Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

3 Department of Oncology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

4 Department of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

5 Department of Microbiology, Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:438  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-438

Published: 3 May 2013



The Canadian circumpolar Inuit population has a higher incidence rate of cervical cancer than the general population and the majority of cases occur among underscreened women. The objectives of this study were to determine Pap smear utilization rates and to determine factors associated with time-inappropriate use of cervical cancer screening among a cohort of Inuit women from Nunavik, Quebec, Canada.


This study utilizes baseline information collected from a cohort formed between January 2002 and December 2007 to study the natural history of HPV among Inuit women aged 21–69 years in Nunavik, Quebec. Cervical cancer screening history and other variables were obtained from a baseline questionnaire and medical chart review. Unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for potential predictors of not having a Pap smear within the previous 3 years prior to cohort entry.


A total of 403 Inuit women who had a baseline questionnaire and chart review were included. The mean age of the study population was 34.2 years. In the three years prior to study entry, 25% of women did not have a Pap smear. Older age and never giving birth were significant predictors of time-inappropriate Pap smear use.


Our results suggest that older women and women who are not accessing reproductive care have a lower compliance with time-appropriate cervical cancer screening and future research should address potential strategies to increase screening coverage among this group.