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Mammograms and Pap Smears for Australian Deaf Women

Wollin, Judy BA, PhD, RN; Elder, Ruth BA(Hons), PhD, RN


This study aimed to assess baseline knowledge about mammograms and pap smears among Australian Deaf women, to investigate their participation in breast and cervical cancer screening services, and to explore, where relevant, their perceptions about their access to breast and cervical screening services. An interview schedule was developed, and a convenience sample of 13 Deaf women was interviewed face-to-face by the first researcher with an accredited Auslan interpreter. The Deaf women's knowledge about mammograms and Pap smears often was incomplete. However, most of the eligible women had undergone a mammogram and had been rescreened within the recommended time frame. Although most had received a Pap smear, some were not attending as recommended by the Cancer Council of Australia. This exploration into the experiences of Deaf women can prompt all nurses to consider the needs of particular minorities and the barriers they may face to participate fully in health services.

From the School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland, Australia.

Corresponding author: Ruth Elder, BA(Hons), PhD, RN, School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove, Queensland, 4059 Australia (e-mail:

Accepted for publication June 18, 2003.

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.