Introduction: According to recent statistics, there is a high percentage of refusal of cervical cancer screening using the Pap smear test by women in rural communities in developing countries such as Peru. There are few studies on the reasons to explain said refusal in this country. The objective of this study was to determine the barriers related to the non-acceptance of cervical cancer screening using the Pap smear test in women of childbearing age from a rural Peruvian community.
Methods: Cross-sectional study, with a total of 892 women of childbearing age from the rural Peruvian community of Marián, Huaraz province, Ancash region, who did not accept screening for cervical cancer using the Pap smear test during their care at the Marián Health Centre. A questionnaire given from September 2017 to April 2018 was used. The information was processed with the statistics programme for social science 22.0 programme, using the Chi-square statistical test.
Results: For 4–6 years, 52.5% of women refused cervical cancer screening using the Pap smear test. The barriers that showed a statistically significant relationship to the non-acceptance of cervical cancer screening using the Pap test were socio-demographic (age, marital status, education level, occupation and home income) and institutional barriers (counselling for cervical cancer screening, importance of the gender of health personnel administering the screening, history of mistreatment by health personnel, fear or embarrassment of the screening procedure and a delay in sending the results) (p < 0.05); while a history of sexually transmitted infections and a feeling of physical well-being in sexual and reproductive health were the only related reproductive barriers (p <0.05), this was not demonstrated with the age of first sexual activity, number of sexual partners, age of first pregnancy and total number of pregnancies (p > 0.05).
Conclusions: Socio-demographic and institutional barriers are related to the non-acceptance of cervical cancer screening using the Pap test in women of childbearing age in the rural Peruvian community of Marián, with a lesser emphasis on reproductive barriers. With this in mind, we recommend undertaking broader studies in populations of different age groups, which should be oriented towards the design and application of preventive/promotional programmes by health institutions to promote the participation of community workers with the goal of aiding the identification and control of said barriers, reducing the refusal of cervical cancer screenings by women from rural areas.