Coverage and focus of a cervical cancer prevention program in southern Brazil

Carlos Alberto Temes De Quadros, Cesar Gomes Victora, Juvenal Soares Dias Da Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Objective. To determine the coverage and focus of cervical cancer screening (Pap smears) in a population-based sample in Brazil. Methods. Cross-sectional cluster survey covering 1 730 women aged 20 years or older with a history of sexual activity. Information was collected on social, demographic and behavioral variables, knowledge of and use of the Pap test. Results. Of women aged 25-59 years, who are the target population of the national cervical cancer screening program, 78.7% had had at least one Pap test in their lifetime, and 68.8% had had a Pap test in the last 3 years. Statistics for focus of the program showed that of the 637 women who reported having a Pap test in the last year, only 20.6% actually required one. The remainder were either outside the age range or had had another test less than 30 months previously. Prevalence of not having been tested in the previous 3 years was highest among black (41.7%) and low-income women (64.3%), and among those at greatest risk for cervical cancer (62.3% for women with three or more risk factors). Focus was inversely related to socioeconomic status. Conclusion. Coverage rates were similar to those reported in other national studies, but this is the first report to examine the focus of the national program. We show that 8 of every 10 Pap tests were not necessary. Coverage levels remain unacceptably low among women of low socioeconomic status and those at greatest risk for cervical cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-232
Number of pages10
JournalRevista Panamericana de Salud Publica/Pan American Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Cross-sectional study
  • Epidemiology
  • Papanicolaou smear
  • Physical examination
  • Vaginal smear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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