Objectives. This study examined the causes of socioeconomic differences in invasive cervical cancer in two countries that differ substantially in cervical cancer incidence and economic development. Method. Data were derived from two case-control studies carried out in Spain and Colombia; there were 373 case subjects, 387 control subjects, and 425 husbands interviewed with a structured questionnaire. Exfoliated cells were obtained from cervical or penile scrapes and tested for human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA. Results. Relative to better educated women, women with low educational levels in both countries reported fewer Pap smears and had a higher prevalence of HPV DNA. The prevalence ratio of HPV DNA across educational strata was twofold in Spain and fourfold in Colombia. In both countries, husbands of poorly educated women reported higher use of prostitutes than husbands of better educated women. In Colombia, 30% of husbands of poorly educated women harbored HPV DNA, compared with 10% of husbands of better educated women. Conclusions. Socioeconomic differences in invasive cervical cancer could be partly explained by differences in the prevalence of HPV DNA and by a lower use of preventive care.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health