Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Practices for Low-Income Asian American Women in Ethnic-Specific Clinics

  • Marjorie Kagawa-Singer UCLA School of Public Health and Asian American Studies
  • Liane Wong Institute for Health Policy Solutions
  • Sara Shostak Columbia University
  • Chantal Raymer Walsh Alta Bates Summit Medical Center
  • Rod Lew Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment and Leadership


Introduction: Early detection and screening are the most effective means to reduce cancer mortality in all populations. Asian American (AA) women have among the lowest rates in aggregate for use of early detection, and screening practices of all ethnic populations. The only nationally disaggregated populationbased data on these ethnic groups at the time of the study was the 1993-1994 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) of English speaking AA, but 70% of the AA population is non-English speaking. Our study presents heretofore unavailable data for cancer screening for monolingual AA women for a comparable time period in California between 1992 and 1994, prior to initiation of the state and Federal programs targeting this group of women. Methods: Retrospective chart reviews of randomly selected medical records were conducted for the breast and cervical cancer screening practices of low-income, non-English speaking Chinese, Korean, and Thai women attending ethnic specific community-based health clinics. All women seen in the clinics between 1992-1994 who were within the appropriate screening age categories were eligible. Results: Asian American women utilizing ethnic specific clinics had equal to or better screening rates for mammography and Pap tests than mainstream services for English-speaking AA women in a national survey. These screening rates, however, were still well below nationally recommended screening rates for breast and cervical cancer according to Healthy People 2000 or 2010 goals. Conclusion: These data support the effectiveness of Community Based Clinics (CBOs) to reach these hard to reach women and address the call for the elimination of health disparities. In addition, we compare our findings with national data to highlight within group variations.
How to Cite
Kagawa-Singer, M., Wong, L., Shostak, S., Walsh, C. R., & Lew, R. (2005). Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Practices for Low-Income Asian American Women in Ethnic-Specific Clinics. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 3(3), 180-192.