Discourse / Discours - Honouring Stories: Mi'kmaq Women's Experiences With Pap Screening in Eastern Canada

Catherine MacDonald, Ruth Martin-Misener, Audrey Steenbeek, Annette Browne


Mi'kmaq women are reported to have lower rates of Papanicolaou (Pap) screening and higher rates of cervical cancer than non-Aboriginal women. This qualitative participatory study used postcolonial feminist perspectives and Indigenous principles to explore Mi'kmaq women's experiences with Pap screening within the contexts that shaped their experiences. Community facilitators assisted with the research process. Talking circles and individual in-depth interviews were conducted with 16 Mi'kmaq women. Also, health-care providers were interviewed in 2 Mi'kmaq communities. The findings indicate that historical and social contexts are shaping Mi'kmaq women's screening experiences and that these experiences are diverse, as are their understandings about screening. Some women were accessing regular screening despite challenging personal circumstances. The results highlight the need for nurses and other health-care providers to understand the uniqueness of each woman's experiences with Pap screening. Improvements in screening rates depend on multifaceted nursing approaches developed in partnership with Mi'kmaq women.

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