Introduction Although actions for cervical cancer reduction in primary care were implemented in Rio de Janeiro in the '80s, the incidence and associated mortality are still among the highest in the country. For effective prevention it is essential women complete follow-up after their Pap smear. More information about the reasons preventing follow-up is needed.
Objective To investigate the factors that influence women not to return to receive their Pap smear result in the Brazilian Public Health System in Rio de Janeiro city, Brazil.
Material and Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted. All participants signed a consent form and 1278 women completed the protocol. The questionnaire included: socio-demographic status, self-evaluation about health status, knowledge about prevention, last Pap smear and reproductive history.
Results The percentage of women who did not return to receive the result of Pap smear was 23.1% (18.3–27.9). Schooling, marital status, race, religion and per capita income, self-evaluation about health status, knowledge about prevention, reason to perform exam, satisfaction level in medical attendance were not associated with the return for getting the results. Women who were not informed of a date to return for heir result were less likely to return than those who had been informed, 47.0% (35.9–58.4).
Discussion The results showed that the behaviour of the health professional and the infrastructure of the healthcare system can influence the return of women to receive the Pap smear result and their follow-up treatment.