Hong Kong Chinese Women’s Lay Beliefs about Cervical Cancer Causation and Prevention


Background: This study aimed to seek insights into Chinese women’s lay beliefs about cervical cancer causalattributions and prevention. Materials and
Methods: Twenty-three new immigrant adult women from MainlandChina and thirty-five Hong Kong adult women underwent semi-structured in-depth interviews. Interviews wereaudio taped, transcribed and analyzed using a Grounded Theory approach.
Results: This study generated threefoci: causal beliefs about cervical cancer, perceived risk of cervical cancer, and beliefs about cervical cancerprevention. Personal risky practices, contaminated food and environment pollution were perceived as theprimary causes of cervical cancer. New immigrant women more likely attributed cervical cancer to externalfactors. Most participants perceived cervical cancer as an important common fatal female cancer with increasedrisk/prevalence. Many participants, particularly new immigrant women participants, expressed helplessnessabout cervical cancer prevention due to lack of knowledge of prevention, it being perceived as beyond individualcontrol. Many new immigrant participants had never undergone regular cervical screening while almost allHong Kong participants had done so.
Conclusions: Some Chinese women hold pessimistic beliefs about cervicalcancer prevention with inadequate knowledge about risk factors. Future cervical cancer prevention programsshould provide more information and include capacity building to increase Chinese women’s knowledge andself-efficacy towards cervical cancer prevention.