1 Research Center for Nursing and Midwifery Care, Department of Midwifery, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran
Background &aim: Breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers are the leading causes of mortality among women, the incidence rate of which has an upward trend with advancing age. Although cost-effective, easy, and available screening programs can help control these types of cancer in their early stages, it seems that cancer screening programs have not been implemented effectively. In this study, we investigated the rate of cancer screening practice in middle-aged women and explained the influential factors. Methods: This cross-sectional study with a sequential mixed method approach was conducted on 483 middle-age women selected through cluster random sampling in Yazd, Iran. Data were obtained by a research made questionnaire and analyzed with descriptive statistics and performing Pearson product-moment correlation, Student’s t-test, and One-way ANOVA tests, using SPSS version 16. In the second phase of the study, qualitative, semi-structured interviews were performed and data were analyzed through content analysis. Results: The majority of the subjects had never been screened for cancer through mammogram (87.7%), Pap test (64.2%), or fecal occult blood test (FOBT) (89.8%). Educational level, employment status, perceived adequacy of income, perceived health status, and the number of children were significantly associated with breast and colon cancer screening practice. Qualitative data showed that lack of knowledge, the cost of screening exams, lack of financial independence, negligence of spouse, fear of cancer, embarrassment, and belief in destiny were the main reasons for non-adherence to cancer screening tests. In addition, knowledge and observing cancer in acquaintances and relatives were the main motivators of cancer screening. Conclusion: Middle-aged housewives, as well as women with low educational level and income were the most vulnerable groups, who did not adhere to cancer screening. Planning and management of cancer preventive programs and implementing educational programs on cancer screening for both women and their husbands are of great significance. Moreover, efficient health policies such as insurance payment should be considered by the government.