This article is a case study of a 32-year-old African-American woman diagnosed with an abnormal Pap smear, who did not follow through with the recommended colposcopy procedure. This case study highlights the role of illness explanatory models in nonadherence to follow-up treatment for an abnormal Pap smear. Illness explanatory models are an individual's personal interpretation of the illness. Research indicates that patients' illness explanatory models may not agree with biomedical explanations, but may sometimes have an adverse impact on health and illness behavior. This case study draws attention to the impact of illness explanatory models of cancer resulting from experience with cancer in the family, personal belief systems, and spiritual faith on the patient's decision not to follow through with recommended treatment for an abnormal Pap smear. Addressing illness explanatory models is of clinical importance in determining methods that will motivate women to follow through with treatment protocols when diagnosed with an abnormal Pap smear. Further in-depth study of the role these explanatory models of cancer play in nonadherence to treatment protocols is needed.
- African-American women's health
- Cervical cancer-explanatory models
- Pap smear
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