BACKGROUND: Although early detection of breast and cervical cancer is one of the most effective means of assuring timely treatment and survival, the cultural hypothesis proposes that traditional norms, values, and beliefs deter Latinas from being screened. PURPOSE: We assessed whether acculturation is associated with Latinas' receipt of a recent mammogram, clinical breast examination (CBE), and Papanicolaou (Pap) test, and the contribution of acculturation to screening after adjusting for sociodemographic variables. METHODS: We used data from the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Supplement of the 1991 National Health Interview Survey. The sample for analyses of Pap test utilization included 1,370 Latinas age 18 and over, and for mammography and CBE, 525 Latina women age 40 and over. RESULTS: Acculturation was associated with a higher likelihood of having had a recent mammogram, but this effect was not significant when controlling for sociodemographic factors. In both adjusted and unadjusted analyses, acculturation did not predict recent Pap smears. Acculturation was associated with greater likelihood of recent CBE, controlling for sociodemographic factors. CONCLUSIONS: The association between acculturation and cancer screening is inconsistent. Theoretical models are needed to explain the mechanisms involved in the association (or lack thereof) between acculturation and screening.