• Asian American;
  • Breast self-examination;
  • Chinese;
  • Clinical breast examination;
  • Mammography;
  • Pap smear test

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe breast and cervical cancer screening knowledge and practices of a representative sample of Chinese American women and to examine the factors associated with screening practices.

Description of study: A random sample of 332 Chinese American women, 40 to 69 years of age, from the Chinatown area of Chicago, Illinois, were interviewed face to face, using both Chinese Mandarin (or Putunghua) and Cantonese versions of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Cancer Control Supplement Questionnaire. Knowledge and use of mammogram, clinical breast examination (CBE), breast self-examination (BSE), and Pap smear test were assessed.

Results: The results showed a low level of knowledge of cancer screening tests and low use rates. Multiple logistics regression analysis showed that women with spoken English fluency were more likely to have knowledge and use of CBE, BSE, Pap test, and mammograms. Women with better than an elementary education were more likely to have knowledge and use of CBE, BSE, and Pap test. The source of medical care was statistically significant for having had a mammogram. Knowledge of cancer warning signs and symptoms was significant for knowledge of mammogram and BSE and for the use of BSE.

Clinical implications: Multiple strategies are needed. These might include the following: 1) integration of research with population-based care by physicians and scientists; 2) coordinated public health education on cancer screening and postscreening support in Chinese languages; and 3) replication of the NHIS survey methodology and adaptive application of these instruments across several states and regions, combined with the assessment of screening performance in Chinese American populations.