Health Service Accessibility and Risk in Cervical Cancer Prevention: Comparing Rural Versus Nonrural Residence in New Mexico

Yolanda J. McDonald, Daniel W. Goldberg, Isabel C. Scarinci, Philip E. Castle, Jack Cuzick, Michael Robertson, Cosette M. Wheeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Purpose: Multiple intrapersonal and structural barriers, including geography, may prevent women from engaging in cervical cancer preventive care such as screening, diagnostic colposcopy, and excisional precancer treatment procedures. Geographic accessibility, stratified by rural and nonrural areas, to necessary services across the cervical cancer continuum of preventive care is largely unknown. Methods: Health care facility data for New Mexico (2010-2012) was provided by the New Mexico Human Papillomavirus Pap Registry (NMHPVPR), the first population-based statewide cervical cancer screening registry in the United States. Travel distance and time between the population-weighted census tract centroid to the nearest facility providing screening, diagnostic, and excisional treatment services were examined using proximity analysis by rural and nonrural census tracts. Mann-Whitney test (P <.05) was used to determine if differences were significant and Cohen's r to measure effect. Findings: Across all cervical cancer preventive health care services and years, women who resided in rural areas had a significantly greater geographic accessibility burden when compared to nonrural areas (4.4 km vs 2.5 km and 4.9 minutes vs 3.0 minutes for screening; 9.9 km vs 4.2 km and 10.4 minutes vs 4.9 minutes for colposcopy; and 14.8 km vs 6.6 km and 14.4 minutes vs 7.4 minutes for precancer treatment services, all P <.001). Conclusion: Improvements in cervical cancer prevention should address the potential benefits of providing the full spectrum of screening, diagnostic and precancer treatment services within individual facilities. Accessibility, assessments distinguishing rural and nonrural areas are essential when monitoring and recommending changes to service infrastructures (eg, mobile versus brick and mortar).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-392
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • cervical cancer
  • cervical cancer prevention
  • geographic accessibility
  • health care accessibility
  • health service delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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