Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the screening histories and compare barriers to screening between women with newly diagnosed early-stage cervical cancer versus advanced stage cervical cancer.
Materials and Methods: Between August 2010 and August 2011, women with invasive cervical cancer were identified at a single urban academic referral center and surveyed regarding access to health care, screening history, and barriers to screening services. The following 2 groups were identified: women with early-stage disease (ESD) (stages 1A1–1B2) and women with advanced-stage disease (ASD) (stages IIA–IV).
Results: A total of 65 women were enrolled. Thirty-eight women (58%) had ESD, and 27 (42%) had ASD. Patients with ESD had an average time since last Pap smear of 5.4 years compared with 10.7 years in patients with ASD (p = .014). Ten patients (26%) with ESD had screening histories compliant with recommendations compared with 0 patients (0%) with ASD (p = .004). Seventeen (45%) of 38 patients with ESD and 8 (30%) of 27 patients with ASD reported no barriers to accessing screening (p = nonsignificant [NS]). Financial difficulties were the most common barrier in 12 women with ESD (32%) and 7 women with ASD (41%) (p = NS). High levels of family support were noted in both groups (74% and 70%, p = NS).
Conclusions: Time since last Pap smear varied significantly in women with early versus advanced cervical cancer. Women with compliant screening histories still developed invasive cervical cancer, but none presented at an advanced stage. There were no significant differences in specific barriers to accessing health care and screening services between women with ESD compared with ASD. More than one third of patients reported no barriers to care, suggesting a need for improved awareness of screening recommendations.