Cervical cancer screening among sexual minority women: findings from a national survey

Gabriela Bustamante, Paul L. Reiter, Annie Laurie McRee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Sexual minority women (SMW; lesbian, bisexual, and other women who have sex with women) are at risk for cervical cancer but less likely than non-SMW to receive regular cervical cancer screening (Pap- and/or HPV-testing). We examined factors contributing to receipt of guideline-based cervical cancer screening among SMW. Methods: During October 2019, we conducted an online survey of self-identified SMW aged 21–45 years living in the United States (n = 435). We estimated risk differences (RD) in women’s likelihood of being within current cervical cancer screening guidelines by sociodemographic and health-related characteristics. Results: Overall, 75% of respondents were within current screening guidelines. Adjusting for other factors, SMW were more likely to be within guidelines if they were insured (aRD 0.26, 95% CI 0.13, 0.39), had a partner (aRD 0.18, 95% CI 0.09, 0.28), and were older (aRD 0.12, 95% CI 0.04, 0.20). Overall, the most common reasons for not being screened recently were lack of insurance/cost (42%) and perceiving it was unnecessary (28%). Conclusion: Many SMW are not being screened for cervical cancer according to guidelines. Findings can inform efforts to improve screening among this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)911-917
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
GB is supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number T32CA163184 (Michele Allen, MD, MS; PI). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


  • Cervical cancer
  • Screening
  • Sexual minority women
  • United States

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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