Cervical Cancer: Barriers to Screening in the Somali Community in Minnesota

Rahel G. Ghebre, Barrett Sewali, Sirad Osman, Amira Adawe, Hai T. Nguyen, Kolawole S. Okuyemi, Anne Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


This study examined barriers to and facilitators of cervical cancer screening among Somali immigrant women in Minnesota. We adopted the socioecological framework to illustrate screening barriers at multiple levels. We conducted 23 semi-structured key informant interviews and used a thematic exploratory approach to analyze the data. Barriers were classified into individual, community or health systems levels. Obstacles included lack of knowledge, religious beliefs, fatalism, fear, embarrassment, and lack of trust in the interpreters. Participants described a need for training of healthcare providers on issues surrounding Somali women’s cultural practices and sexual health. Identifying individual, community, or health system barriers and addressing them concurrently may increase use of cancer screening services among Somali women. Future interventions need to address multilevel barriers with multilevel approaches to improve utilization of cervical cancer screening services in underserved immigrant populations in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)722-728
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 30 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute: Minnesota Community Networks Center for Eliminating Cancer Disparities (U54CA153603) and Cancer-related Health Disparities Education and Career Development Program (1R25CA163184). Special thanks to the Somali immigrant women for volunteering to participate in this study. We also thank the staff members of the New Americans Community Services team who aided in the recruitment and moderating the interviews.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Cervical cancer
  • Qualitative
  • Screening
  • Somali women


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