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An in-depth series of interviews was undertaken amongst a small group of older, Caucasian women, in Auckland, New Zealand The study was part of the region's cervical screening programme The aim of the study was to determine how the older woman's perceptions of cervical cancer and cervical screening services might be affecting her health-seeking behaviour Healthy, Caucasian women between 45 and 70 years of age were invited to participate These women had either declined or delayed having regular cervical smears Interviews were recorded and transcribed, then subjected to thematic analysis Although small, the study is important in that it highlights cognitive, emotional, socio-economic and ego integrity barriers to regular cervical screening Nurse clinicians have a major role in disease prevention and education for healthy older women The findings provide a useful background for developing strategies to increase the uptake of cervical smears amongst older Caucasian women They may also be viewed as a pilot for the development of questionnaires, or for further investigation of perceptions of older women in other ethnic groups