Chinese women's experiences and images of the Pap smear examination

E. Holroyd, S. F. Twinn, A. T.Y. Shia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Cervical cancer remains a significant cause of mortality and morbidity in Chinese women, despite the efficacy of the screening procedure for the disease. This article focuses on specific gender and culturally related experiences of Chinese women presenting for Papancolaou (Pap) tests. The first phase of a descriptive exploratory study involved the administration of a questionnaire to a total population of female Hong Kong Chinese clerical and technical staff working in academic departments of a tertiary institution. The second phase consisted of in-depth semistructured interviews with a purposive sample of women to explore experiences of Pap smear screening. Of these women, 68.2% associated pain with a Pap smear. In addition, 78.6% of the women associated a Pap smear with embarrassment. Older women were more likely to experience pain and embarrassment during the procedure. In the qualitative data, women's personal images and experiences reflected four subthemes including pain, sexual connotations of the procedure, vulnerability, and diminished embarrassment after childbirth. The second substantive theme, characteristics of the practitioner, highlighted the importance of procedural, interpersonal, and culturally sensitive skills, particularly in respect to information-giving and interaction with women. The conclusion outlines the nursing implications for Chinese women presenting for Pap smears in terms of cultural sensitivity as a means of enhancing attendance patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese women
  • Experiences
  • Pap smear


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