Community-Based Cervical Cancer Education: Changes in Knowledge and Beliefs Among Vietnamese American Women

Carolyn Y. Fang, Minsun Lee, Ziding Feng, Yin Tan, Fayola Levine, Cuc Nguyen, Grace X. Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Low cervical cancer screening rates among Vietnamese American women have been attributed, in part, to inadequate knowledge about cervical cancer and health beliefs that hinder screening. A community-based educational program was developed to improve knowledge and attitudes toward cervical cancer screening in this underserved population. It was hypothesized that the program would result in increases in knowledge, as well as enhanced health beliefs and self-efficacy toward obtaining cervical cancer screening. Using a group-randomized design, 1488 women from 30 Vietnamese community-based organizations were assigned to either the intervention (n = 816) or control (n = 672) conditions. The intervention group received cervical cancer education delivered by bilingual community health educators. Intervention content addressed individual beliefs and expectancies regarding cervical cancer screening (e.g., perceived risk of developing cervical cancer; perceived benefits and barriers to screening; social and cultural norms regarding screening). The control group received general health education, including information about cancer screening. Knowledge and health beliefs were assessed at baseline and post-intervention. Among women in the intervention group, overall knowledge about cervical cancer and screening guidelines increased from pre-to post-program (30% vs. 88%, p < 0.001), perceived benefits of screening increased (3.50 vs. 4.49, p < 0.001), and perceived barriers to screening decreased (3.13 vs. 2.25, p < 0.001). Changes in knowledge and health beliefs were not observed among women in the control group. A community-based educational program can help increase knowledge about cervical cancer and screening, promote positive changes in women’s beliefs about the benefits of cervical cancer screening, and reduce perceived barriers to screening. Such programs may play an important role in addressing health disparities and informing underserved populations about recommended screening tests.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Community Health
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Cervical cancer
  • Health beliefs
  • Knowledge
  • Vietnamese American women


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