• Open Access

Immigrant women's experiences and views on the prevention of cervical cancer: a qualitative study




Many Western countries have cervical cancer screening programmes and have implemented nation-wide human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programmes for preventing cervical cancer.


To explore immigrant women's experiences and views on the prevention of cervical cancer, screening, HPV vaccination and condom use.


An exploratory qualitative study. The Health Belief Model (HBM) was used as a theoretical framework.

Setting and participants

Eight focus group interviews, 5–8 women in each group (average number 6,5), were conducted with 50 women aged 18–54, who studied Swedish for immigrants. Data were analysed by latent content analysis.


Four themes emerged: (i) deprioritization of women's health in home countries, (ii) positive attitude towards the availability of women's health care in Sweden, (iii) positive and negative attitudes towards HPV vaccination, and (iv) communication barriers limit health care access. Even though the women were positive to the prevention of cervical cancer, several barriers were identified: difficulties in contacting health care due to language problems, limited knowledge regarding the relation between sexual transmission of HPV and cervical cancer, culturally determined gender roles and the fact that many of the women were not used to regular health check-ups.


The women wanted to participate in cervical cancer prevention programmes and would accept HPV vaccination for their daughters, but expressed difficulties in understanding information from health-care providers. Therefore, information needs to be in different languages and provided through different sources. Health-care professionals should also consider immigrant women's difficulties concerning cultural norms and pay attention to their experiences.