Perceptions and attitudes of rural women in Matebeleng, Limpopo Province towards cervical cancer
Cervical Cancer is a global concern and the most common cancer among women in many less developed countries where there is inadequate access to information and quality screening programmes. In South Africa alone, 6742 infections and 3681 deaths were recorded in 2014. The spiral increase of this disease in low-resourced areas is aggravated by some socio-economic, cultural and structural factors. The study, which explored the knowledge and attitudes of ruralbased women towards cervical cancer, was conducted at Matebeleng village in Limpopo
Province. A qualitative exploratory case study was conducted, and self-reported data was collected from 22 women. Two focus groups consisted of seven (7) and eight (8) participants, and six (6) face-face individual interviews were held using a semi-structured interview guide. Data was analysed thematically. The research findings show that the majority of women in Matebeleng village have no knowledge of cervical cancer, and only very few received some information of this disease through radio, health clinic, random women, and consent forms from the school. Participants highlighted some of the risk factors, but some information was incorrect. The findings showed that a few participants had only been screened once, and that the majority have never been tested for cervical cancer. Those who were screened never received feedback from nurses, and their experiences did not motivate re-screening. It is, therefore, recommended that cervical cancer outreach programmes be conducted in rural areas, and that methods of disseminating information to rural women in their distinct contexts be examined.
Keywords: Perceptions, attitudes, rural women, cervical cancer