Health insurance and cervical cancer screening among older women in Latin American and Caribbean cities

Carlos A. Reyes-Ortiz, Luis F. Velez, Maria E. Camacho, Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, Kyriakos S. Markides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


Background: The purpose of this study is to describe the prevalence of Papanicolaou (Pap) smear use for cervical cancer screening and to estimate its association with type of health care insurance. Methods: Across-sectional study using data from the Health, Well-Being and Aging in Latin America and the Caribbean Study (SABE). The sample includes 6357 women aged 60 and older from seven cities. The outcome was reporting a Pap smear for cervical cancer screening during the previous 2 years. Main independent variable was health care insurance. Covariates were demographic or socioeconomic variables, medical conditions and functional status. Results: Prevalence of Pap smear use across the seven cities ranged from 21% in Bridgetown to 45% in Mexico City. In a multivariate analysis of the combined sample, without Havana that has universal health care insurance, women with public insurance (OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.43 - 0.71) or with no insurance (OR 0.23, 95% CI 0.15 - 0.34) were less likely to have a Pap smear compared with women with private insurance. Also, women with no insurance were less likely to have a Pap smear (OR 0.40, 95% CI 0.30 - 0.54) compared with women with any health insurance. Conclusions: In general, the prevalence of Pap smear use was lower than that reported for Hispanic populations in the United States. Overall, lack of health insurance or having public health insurance determined lower odds for having a Pap smear for cervical cancer screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)870-878
Number of pages9
JournalInternational journal of epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008



  • Cancer screening
  • Health insurance
  • Latin America and Caribbean
  • Older women
  • Pap smear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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