Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
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AbstractBackground. In New South Wales (NSW) information on migrant status is not collected in routinely recorded cervical screening data, yet some migrant groups, particularly Vietnamese-born women, have a higher incidence of cervical cancer and, purportedly, lower cervical screening rates than Australian-born women. To investigate this, screening rates in a cohort of women with Vietnamese surnames were estimated and compared with survey data. Methods. A cohort of women with common Vietnamese surnames was extracted from the NSW electoral roll and matched over three periods with data held on the NSW Pap Test Register (PTR), and estimates of cervical screening in the cohort derived. Screening rates for each of the three periods were pro-rated to biennial rates, and time-related changes compared. Screening rates in the cohort were also compared to those in Vietnamese migrant respondents to a population-based health interview survey. Results. Estimated biennial screening rates in the overall Vietnamese nominal cohort of women aged 20-69 years were significantly and substantially lower than those for NSW overall, by 10-12 percentage points. Screening rates in the Vietnamese cohort were found to increase over the study period, from 44% for 1997198 to 47% for 1998199. While the biennial screening rate for 1998 in the nominal cohort was 19 percentage points lower than the self-reported surveyed screening rate of 63%, the relative screening ratios between Vietnamese and all NSW women were similar for both data sources. Conclusion. This study demonstrates the feasibility of estimating and monitoring cervical screening participation in minority groups with distinctive names using a Pap Test Register and information from a population register.