Cancer Control Research5R03CA113086-02
CERVICAL CANCER AND THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER RELATIONSHIP
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Cervical cancer is a largely preventable disease when women receive regular pap smears. Estimates suggest that the introduction of pap smears to populations naive to screening reduces cervical cancer rates by 60-90% within three years of implementation. However, many women do not obtain screening because they know little about cervical cancer, fear the prospect of having a pap smear, or remain fatalistic about their health. Cervical cancer remains a major global problem. In South Africa, where we propose to conduct this study, cervical cancer is currently the second most common female cancer. The risk of developing cervical cancer for black South African women is 1 in 29. This extraordinarily high risk has been attributed, among other factors, to a lack of educational efforts aimed at informing women about cervical cancer and motivating them to utilize existing screening resources. In an effort to explore innovative and culturally appropriate strategies to promote screening, we have developed two specific aims: 1) explore the cervical cancer-related knowledge and behaviors of mothers and 2) explore the mother-daughter relationship and its potential for daughter-initiated cervical cancer prevention. This study plans to meet the first object through conducting focus groups with mothers. The second objective will be met by conducting semi-structured interviews to explore in-depth the dimensions of the mother-daughter relationship and the norms associated with advice giving and receiving, particularly health advice. Each of these aims will contribute formative data to better understand the potential of using daughters as advocates to promote cervical cancer screening with their mothers. Effective and innovative methods are needed to help promote screening for cervical cancer. The mother-daughter relationship offers unexplored opportunities for health promotion research and in particular for emphasizing the importance of pap smears. Finally, the mother-daughter relationship has implications for effecting inter-generational prevention behavior for cervical cancer.