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Open Access Research article

Socioeconomic disparity in cervical cancer screening among Korean women: 1998–2010

Minjee Lee1, Eun-Cheol Park2, Hoo-Sun Chang2, Jeoung A Kwon1, Ki Bong Yoo1 and Tae Hyun Kim3*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health, Institute of Health Services Research, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea

2 Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Institute of Health Services Research, College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea

3 Graduate School of Public Health, Institute of Health Services Research, College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:553  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-553

Published: 6 June 2013

Abstract

Background

Cervical cancer is the sixth most common cause of cancer among Korean women and is one of the most preventable cancers in the world. This study aimed to investigate the change in cervical cancer screening rates, the level of socioeconomic disparities in cervical cancer screening participation, and whether there was a reduction in these disparities between 1998 and 2010.

Methods

Using the Korean Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, women 30 years or older without a history of cervical cancer and who completed a health questionnaire, physical examination, and nutritional survey were included (n = 17,105). Information about participation in cervical cancer screening was collected using a self-administered questionnaire. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to investigate the relationship between cervical cancer screening participation and the socioeconomic status of the women.

Results

The cervical cancer screening rate increased from 40.5% in 1998 to 52.5% in 2010. Socioeconomic disparities influenced participation, and women with lower educational levels and lower household income were less likely to be screened. Compared with the lowest educational level, the adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for screening in women with the highest educational level were 1.56 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.05–2.30) in 1998, and 1.44 (95% CI: 1.12–1.87) in 2010. Compared with women with the lowest household income level, the adjusted ORs for screening in women with the highest household income level were 1.80 (95% CI: 1.22–2.68), 2.82 (95% CI: 2.01–3.96), and 1.45 (95% CI: 1.08–1.94) in 2001, 2005, and 2010, respectively.

Conclusion

Although population-wide progress has been made in participation in cervical cancer screening over the 12-year period, socioeconomic status remained an important factor in reducing compliance with cancer screening.

Keywords:
Cervical cancer; Screening; Socioeconomic status; Disparity